The Consumer Protection Act, 1986 sought to provide better protection to the interests of the consumers and for that purpose made provisions for the establishment of Consumer Protection Councils and other authorities for resolving consumers’ disputes. The Consumer Protection Councils would be set up at national and state levels (Section 6 of Consumer Protection Act)
The objects of the Central Consumers Protection Council and State Consumers Protection Councils are to promote and protect the rights of the consumers, such as:
(a) The right to be protected against marketing of goods and services which are hazardous to life and property.
(b) The right to be informed about the quality, quantity, potency, purity, standard and price of goods or services as the case may be so as to protect the consumer against unfair trade practices.
(c) The right to be assured wherever possible, access to a variety of goods and services at competitive prices.
(d) The right to be heard and to be assured that consumers’ interest will receive due consideration at appropriate forum.
(e) The right to seek redressal against unfair trade practices or restrictive trade practices or unscrupulous exploitation of consumers, and
(f) The right to consumer education.
The objects of a State Consumer Protection Council are to promote and protect within the state the rights of the consumers.
The objects of the Central Consumer Protection Council are to promote and protect the rights of the Indian consumers in general within the territory of India. The Central Council is the highest body to lie down and decide the policy of consumer protection. Consumers’ interests mainly concern with
(i) Good quality of goods and services.
(ii) Regular and uninterrupted supply of products; and
(iii) Reasonable prices of the products.
Composition and Functions of the Councils:
Central Council (Sec. 4):
The Central Council will be composed of following members:
- The Minister in charge of Consumer Affairs of the union government will be the chairperson of the Council.
- Such members official and non-official representing such interests as may be prescribed.
The Central Council meets as and when necessary. At least one meeting shall be held every year. The time and place of the meeting will be fixed by the Chairman. The procedure in regard to the transactions of the business shall also be determined by the Chairman. (Sec 5).
State Council (Sec. 7):
A State Council shall be composed of the following members, namely,
- The Minister in charge of Consumer Affairs of the state government will act as Chairman.
- Such members official and non-official representing such interests as may be prescribed by the state government.
The State Council shall meet as and when necessary. The time and place of the meeting shall be fixed by the Chairman. The Council shall observe such procedure regard to the transactions of its business as may be prescribed by the state government. At least two meetings shall be held every year.
- The Stats Consumer Protection Council is known as “the State Council.”
- Sections 7 and 8 of Chapter-II explain the provisions explain about the constitution and objects of the State Council. Each State is authorized by its State Consumer Protection Rules to establish one State Council for its territory.
- The objects of State Council are to promote consumer movement and to safe guard the consumer rights in a State. It is only recommendatory body.
- The decisions of the State Council are recommendatory in nature.
- It is purely administrative authority, filled up by the non-official and official members. It functions as a Government department.
- From the decisions of State Council, no appeal can be filed. Only an application may be made to the Central Council for consideration. The Central Council too does not possess the implementing powers of any decisions of its or of any State Councils.
- Working Hours and Working Days are not prescribed by the Act. The State Council shall have to conduct its meeting not less than two meetings in every year.
- Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission is known as “the State Commission.”
- Sections 16 to 19 of Chapter-III of the Act explain the provisions about the composition, jurisdiction, procedure, vacancies, appeals etc., of the State Commission. Each State is authorized by its State Consumer Protection Rules to establish one State Commission for its territory.
- The objects of State Commission are to protect the consumers’ rights by redressing. It is a redressal agency.
- The decisions of the State Commission are just like the judgments of High Court. They are legal remedies to the aggrieved consumers. The decisions should be implemented. The persons who violate the decisions are liable under contempt of court proceedings.
- It is a quasi-judicial authority, filled up by judicial and non-official members. Its decisions are binding on District Consumer Forums. They have the power of precedent.
- The State Commission has appellate powers. It can hear the appeals from the District Consumer Forums. Moreover, the aggrieved party from the decisions of the State Commission can appeal to the National Commission.
- The State Commission shall have the working hours and working days just like as a State Government Department and a court.