Attempt the following. Explain means of consumer protection. - Organisation of Commerce and Management

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Answer in Brief

Attempt the following.

Explain means of consumer protection.

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Solution

The consumer is the one who consumes or uses any commodity or service available from any natural resources or through a market. Consumer protection means safeguarding the interests of the consumers. The prevailing judiciary system is not sufficient enough to protect consumers; therefore, there are various ways and means of consumer protection. These ways and means are as follows:

1.  Lok Adalat:

Lok Adalat is set up by the government to settle disputes by compromise. It is also referred to as ‘People’s Court’. The affected consumer can directly approach the Lok Adalat with the grievance. The issues are discussed on the spot and decisions are taken immediately. Therefore, it is an effective and economical system for quick redressal of public grievances. The judgements passed by Lok Adalat get statutory recognition.

E.g.: Maharashtra State Electricity Distribution Company Limited (MSEDCL), Maharashtra State Road Transport Communication (MSRTC), Railway authority, Insurance Companies, Banks etc. organise regular Lok Adalat. 

2. Public interest litigation (Janahit Yachika:

It is a legal facility under which any person can approach the court of law in the interest of society. Its aim is to provide legal remedy to unrepresented groups in the society. A person who is not affected or not related to the grievance can also file public interest litigation. It is filed in the High Court as well as Supreme Court directly in some cases.

3. Redressal Forums:

Under the Consumer Protection Act, 2019, Consumer Rederssal Forums and Consumer Protection Councils are established at the district, state and national level. Any individual consumer or association of consumers can file a complaint with respective commission depending on the value of goods and claim for compensation. The main aim of these commissions is to provide for simple, speedy and inexpensive redressal of consumers’ grievances.

4. Awareness Programme:

The Government of India has initiated various publicity measures to increase the level of awareness among consumers. It comprises journals, brochures, booklets and posters that depict the rights & responsibilities of consumers, redressal machineries etc. Various audio-video programmes on consumer awareness are broadcasted on various TV channels, radio and through social media. 15th March is observed as ‘World Consumer Rights Day’ and 24th December is observed as ‘National Consumer Day’.

5. Consumer Organisations:

Consumer organisations have been active in India to protect and promote the interests of consumers. Consumer movement is well settled in India, helping individuals to seek quick & adequate redressal of their grievances. It is essential to strengthen consumer movement throughout the country.

6. Consumer Welfare Fund (CWF):

Department of Consumer Affairs has created Consumer Welfare Fund for providing financial assistance to strengthen the voluntary consumer movement, particularly in rural areas. This fund is used for:

  1. Training and research in consumer education
  2. Complaint handling 
  3. Counselling & guidance
  4. . Product testing labs etc.

7. Legislative Measures:

A number of laws have been enacted in India to safeguard the interest of consumers and protect them from unethical business practices. Some of these laws are:

  1. Sale of Goods Act, 1930 
  2. Essential Commodities Act, 1955
  3. Standard of Weights & Measures Act, 1956 
  4. Bureau of Indian Standards Act, 1969 
  5. Food Safety & Standard Act, 2006
  6. National Food Security Act, 2013 
  7. Consumer Protection Act, 2019
Concept: Ways and Means of Consumer Protection
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Chapter 7: Consumer Protection - Attempt the following
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