Prof. A.N.Gupta, Delhi University1 CONSUMER PROTECTION Are you serious ?
Prof. A.N.Gupta, Delhi University2 CHANGE IN SITUATION Ineffectiveness of previous legislations enacted for protection of consumers. No specific legislation for protection of ‘consumers’ for a long time. Need felt for protecting consumers against exploitation by manufacturers, traders and service providers – a worldwide phenomenon. This led to enactment of Consumer Protection Act, 1986………(say CPA) CPA was initially a “Toothless Tiger”
Prof. A.N.Gupta, Delhi University3 U.N. RESOLUTION ON CONSUMER PROTECTION Consumer Protection Resolution No. 39/248 dated 09.04.1985 of the General Assembly of the U.N.O. The initiative was taken by the Secretary General, United Nations, when he submitted draft guidelines for consumer protection to the Economic & Social Council (UNESCO) in 1983 India is a signatory to the said Resolution.
Prof. A.N.Gupta, Delhi University4 OBJECTIVES BEFORE U.N.O. To assist countries in providing adequate protection for their population/consumers. To encourage high levels of ethical conduct on the part of producers and distributors of goods and providers of services. To assist countries in curbing abusive business practices. To facilitate the development of consumer groups. To further international cooperation in the field of consumer protection.
Prof. A.N.Gupta, Delhi University5 CONSUMER PROTECTION ACT 1986 Provision for three tier system – District Fora, State Commissions and National Commission. Consumer Fora are headed by persons with judicial background (normally retired judges). Technicalities of procedures stated in CPC are dispensed with (summary procedures prescribed) A consumer may conduct his case on his own. Proceedings are conducted as per Rules of Natural Justice.
Prof. A.N.Gupta, Delhi University6 SERVICE DEFINED IN Section 2 (1) (o) of CPA [Indian Medical Association v/s V.P. Santha & Ors.] Main Part – explanatory in nature and defines service to mean SERVICE OF ANY DESCRIPTION which is made available to potential users. Inclusionary Part - includes the provision of facilities in connection with banking, finance, insurance, transport, supply of electricity, telephones, housing construction, etc. Exclusionary Part - excludes rendering any service (a) free of charge; and (b) under a contract of personal service.
Prof. A.N.Gupta, Delhi University7 Personal Service ? Relationship of master and servant Involves obligation to obey orders. Obeying of orders regarding (a) work to be performed and (b) manner of performance. An employer is not a consumer of employee
Prof. A.N.Gupta, Delhi University8 Who can file complaint ? Section 2(1) (b) of CPA Consumer Voluntary consumer Association registered under any law. Government (Central and/or State Govt.) One or more consumers having same interest. Legal heirs of deceased consumer (Aditya Kumar Saboo vs. M/S Allied Textiles – pending in DF)
Prof. A.N.Gupta, Delhi University9 What can be the complaint about? Gross negligence (wrong operation by a doctor, issue of cheque book to wrong person by bank) Deficiency in service (defective construction by builder, providing lesser area than promised, unreasonable delay in repudiation of insurance claims) Unfair Trade Practice (mis-statements in prospectus – IIT, Priyadarshini college, misleading advertisements) Price of goods or service (charging more than fixed by law, displayed on goods, agreed between parties)
Prof. A.N.Gupta, Delhi University10 Banking R.G. Aggarwal’s case (Cheque book) SBI case - PPF matter (Prof. Gulzari Lal) Credit Cards (A.N. Gupta v/s BOB Cards Ltd. – recently decided) Loss of cheque by bank after its was duly deposited by a customer
Prof. A.N.Gupta, Delhi University11 WHAT RELIEFS MAY BE GRANTED UNDER CPA? Removal of defects in goods Replacement of goods with new ones Return of price paid by complainant Compensation – now punitive damages also Discontinuance of UTPs and RTPs Stop sale of hazardous goods Corrective advertisements to neutralize the effects of misleading advertisements Adequate costs to parties
Prof. A.N.Gupta, Delhi University12 BENEVOLENT INTERPRETATION ? Neela Vasant Raje vs. Amogh Industries Ltd. III(1993) CPJ 261 (NC) In interpreting this social welfare legislation, one should be guided by the principles of ‘benevolent interpretation’…………. Which will help to promote and achieve the objects and purposes of the Act – namely, to protect the interests of consumers Which will suppress the evil sought to be remedied by the statute - namely, the unscrupulous exploitation of consumers
Prof. A.N.Gupta, Delhi University13 FUNNY DECISIONS Vipin Chawla – Order passed in favour of a ‘seller’ of shares to stock broker M.M. Gupta – No clause no. 4.01 in Policy – Delhi S.C. pressurized for compromise by court Holiday resort matters – whether relating to immovable properties? Prof. B.K. Rohatgi A.N. Gupta vs. Lohia Machines Ltd. - Rs. 6.12 + Rs. 87.45 case (Award Rs. 100/-) Long sentences u/s 27 CPA (Tirupati – 182 years)
BUILDER ASKED TO REFUND DEPOSITS Prof. A.N.Gupta, Delhi University14
A HOUSE FOR MR. CONMAN To be in jail for 182 years ? Prof. A.N.Gupta, Delhi University15
IT IS PAYBACK TIME Prof. A.N.Gupta, Delhi University16
SENTENCE FOR NOT REFUNDING CAR BOOKING AMOUNT Prof. A.N.Gupta, Delhi University17
SENTENCE FOR 182 YEARS Prof. A.N.Gupta, Delhi University18
SENTENCE KIKS OFF LEGAL DEBATE Prof. A.N.Gupta, Delhi University19