Central Consumer Protection Council (Sec.4-6)
Section 4 provides for the establishment of CPC at the center. This section empowers the central government to establish by notification a council to be known as the Central Consumer Protection Council.
Object: To promote and protect the rights of the consumers. The Central Government is empowered under section 30 (1) to make rules and it made the Consumer Protection Rule, 1987 with effect from 15th April 1987.
Rule 3 of the social rules provides for the constitution of the central consumer protection council. It shall consist of 150 members as follows:-
- The minister in charge of the consumer affairs in the Central Government as chairman.
- The minister of state or deputy minister who shall be the vice-chairman.
- The minister of food and civil supplies or minister in charge of consumer affairs in states.
- The 8 members of the parliament, 5 from Lok Sabha and 3 from Rajya Sabha.
- The secretary of the National Commission for scheduled castes and scheduled tribes.
- Representatives of the Central government department and other organizations concerns with consumer interest not exceeding 20 members.
- A representative of the Consumer’s organization or consumer, not more than 35.
- Representatives of the woman not less than 35%.
- Farmers, traders, and industries not exceeding 20.
- The person capable of representing consumer internet not exceeding 15.
- The secretary in the department of civil supplies.
Term of Council:
According to Rule 3 clause 2 of the Consumer Protection Rule 1987, the term of the council shall be three years. Any member by writing under his hand to the chairman of the central council can resign from the council.
The number of meeting:
According to section 5 clause 1 of the act, it is mandatory that the central council must hold at least one meeting in a year. But it felt necessary, it may meet more than once.
The procedure of meeting:
According to rule, the central council shall follow the following procedure in its meeting whenever they held. The main steps of the procedure are:
- Proper Authority: The meeting should be called by proper authority in case of the central council. The proper authority would be the chairman of the council.
- Notice: Proper notice of the meeting should be given to the members before the meeting. Each member should be given such notice. The notice should be given at least 10 days before the date of the meeting of the council. The notice shall specify the day, time and place of the meeting.
- Presiding Officer: It shall be presided over by the chairman of the council. In his absence, the vice-chairman may conduct the proceedings in the absence of both, the council should elect a number to preside over the meeting.
- Resolution: To act do not provide for any specific majority to pass the resolution. It shall be passed by a simple majority of the members present and voting, such resolution shall be only recommendatory in nature it shall not be kindling upon the authorities concerned with the enforcement of the provisions of the act.
State Consumer Protection Council (Sec.7 & 8)
According to sec.7, the state government is empowered to establish a State Consumer Protection Council in every state.
Object: To promote and protect within the state the rights of the consumer.
Under the 2002 amendment, the maximum number of officials or non-official members is 10, who shall be nominated by the central government.
As per section 7 (2) of the act, the state council shall consist of the following members:
- The minister in charge of the consumer affairs in the state government as chairman.
- The such number of other official or non-official members representing such interest as may be prescribed by the state government.
Term of Council:
The term of council is of 3 years.
The number of meeting:
The state council shall meet at least twice in a year.
The procedure of the council:
It has been left to the state government by the article of section 4 of the act to prescribe the procedure of the meetings of the council.
District Consumer Protection Council:
The 2002 amendment has inserted to the new section after section 8 in the form of section 8(A) and 8(B).
Under section 8(A) the state government is directed to establish for every district, a consumer protection council.
Object: To promote and protect within the district the interests of the consumer.
- District collector as the chairman.
- Other official and non-official members.
Consumer Rights (Sec.6)
The Consumer Protection Act, 1986 recognizes the 6 specific rights of the consumer. They are:-
- Right to Safety: It means that every consumer has a right to be protected against the marketing of goods and services which are hazardous to life and property.
- Right to Information: Every consumer has a right to be informed about the quality, quantity, potency, purity, standard and price of goods so as to protect the consumer against unfair trade practices.
- Right to Choose: Every consumer has a right to choose from a variety of goods and services available at competitive prices.
- Right to be Heard: Whenever a consumer has a complaint, he had a right to be heard and assured that his interest will receive due consideration at appropriate forums.
- Right to Consumer Education: Central government, as well as state government, should develop the interest of consumer education and information programs bearing in mind, the cultural tradition of the people of the country.
- Right to Seek Redressal: Consumer has a right to seek redressal against unfair trade practice by the seller.
Services means any description which is made available to potential users (actual users and consumer who are capable of using it) and includes the provision of facilities in connection with services but doesn’t include rendering of any service free of charge or under a contract of personal service.
Banking, financing, insurance, transport, processing, supply of electrical and other energy board, lodging or hoard housing construction, entertainment, amusement or purveying of news or other information.
Free of charge:
Under the definition of service as given in the act, the activity must have been performed only for consideration. Rendering of a service purposes existence of a contract. Therefore, if there is no consideration for rendering a service it would not be covered under service.
Contract of Personal Service:
It devotes a contract under which a service is agreed to be rendered and impulse the matter and servant relationship and an obligation to obey the orders.
- Indian Medical Association v. Shantha, 1995: In this case, a contention was raised that even the medical services rendered at the government hospital free of charge would fall within the ambit of services because the medical officers employed in these hospitals receive a salary from the government for employment in the hospital.
Deficiency in services [Sec.2(1)(g)]
Deficiency means any fault, imperfection, shortcoming or inadequacy in the quality, nature, and manner of performance which is required to be maintained by or under any law for the time being in force or has been undertaken to be performed by a person in pursuance of a contract or otherwise in relation to any services.
The deficiency will arise only when an activity is a service as defined by the act. If, the activity is not a service one cannot claim any deficiency under the act. The nature and manner of service may be:
- As is required to be maintained by or under any law for the time being in force.
- Which has been undertaken to be performed by a person in pursuance of a contract which may be expressed or implied?
- Managing Director, RTC v. Commander SC Jain, 2010: It was held that the act has provided provision for correcting the shortcoming in the services or goods provided by way of compensation or other means specified in the provision above mentioned only when the consumer forums come to the conclusion that there is deficiency in services or goods sold.
- Hritik v. UBJ, 1993: Withdrawal of cash credit facility by the bank without any valid reason amounts to deficiency of services.
- Parmanand v. Canara Bank, 1993: It was held that the refusal of sanction loan is not a deficiency in services.
- Telegram Master v. FDI Sibra, 1991: It was held that Post Office would not be held responsible for the loss of letters but late of delivery of telegrams amounts to deficiency in services.
- Nihal Kaur v. Director PGI Chandigarh, 1996: In this case, a metal was left in the body after the operation and patient ultimate died. A sum of Rs.1,20,000 was given as compensation to the dependents of the deceased as the hospital was liable for deficiency in services.
- Vasantha P Nair v. VP Nair, 1991: In this case, it was held that patient is a consumer and medical assistance was a service and therefore, in the event of any deficiency in the performance of medical service, the consumer courts can have the jurisdiction.
- Samira Kohli v. Prabha Manchanda: In this case, the court held the respondent liable for medical negligence and for treatment beyond consent given by the patient.
Deficiency in Insurance Service:-
- Biman Kishore Bose v. United India Insurance Company Ltd. 2001: In this case, it was held that because of an insurance holder had approached a court for redressal of his grievance against the insurance company, it cannot refuse to renew the policy on that ground.
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