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05/12/2014

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Consumer Protection Act
INTRODUCTION
Consumer rights are an integral part of our lives like the consumerist way of life. We have all made use of them at some point in our daily lives. Marketresources and influences are growing by the day and so is the awareness of ones consumer rights. These rights are well defined and there are agencieslike the Government, consumer courts and voluntary organizations that worktowards safeguarding. While we like to know about our rights and make fulluse of them, consumer responsibility is an area which is still not demarcatedand it is hard to spell out that all the responsibility is that a consumer issupposed to shoulder.Consumer Protection Act, 1986 is an important Act in the history of theconsumer movement in the country. The Act was made to provide for thebetter protection and promotion of consumer rights through theestablishment of consumer councils and quasi-judicial machinery. It is milestone in the history of socio-economic legislation and directed towards publicwelfare and public benefits.The CPA was passed by the Lok Sabha on 5th December 1986 and RajyaSabha on 10th December, 1986 and assented to by the president in theGazette of India.
 
Extra Part II: Section 1 dated 26.12.1986.and at PP 1-12 called, “theCPA 1986 (Act No.66 of 1986) and the preamble states that, “An Act providefor better protection of the interest of the consumers and for that purpose tomake provisions for the establishment of consumer councils and otherauthorities for the settlement of consumer’s dispute and for mattersconnected therewith.”Under the Act, consumer disputes redressal agencies have been set upthrough out the country with the District Forum at the District level, StateCommission at the State level and National Commission at national level toprovide simple, inexpensive and speedy justice to the consumer withcomplaints against defective goods, deficient services and unfair andrestrictive trade practices. The Law relating to consumer protection in India is at recent origin andis developing slowly, day by day, with the pronouncement of orders passedby the commissions constituted under the Act all over India and the NationalCommission. However the presence of some protective Laws for the benefitsof consumer in the ancient culture cannot be denied.
BACKGROUND
In the early years when welfare legislatures like the consumer protectionAct did not exist, the maxim Caveat emptor (let the buyer beware) governedthe market deals. We find the seeds of consumer protection during theMughal times and especially during the time of Khiljis. It is said that Sultan
 Ala-ud-Din Khilji
(1296 A.D. to 1316 A.D.) had introduced strict price controlmeasures based on production costs. He had also established separateshopping centers in Delhi for (1) grain, (2) cloth, sugar, dried fruits, herbs,butter, and oil, (3) horses, slaves, and cattle, and (4) miscellaneouscommodities. The supply of grain was ensured by collecting tax in kind in theproduction areas and keeping it in the royal storehouses. Hoardings of grainwere forbidden. Elsewhere the growers were ordered to sell their grains forcash in their fields at fixed prices and were not allowed to take any grainhome for private sale. The market controller, the state intelligence officer,and the Sultan’s secret agents, each submitted independent reports on these
 
shopping centers to the Sultan. Even a minor violation of the rules was nottolerated. The shopping center for cloth, known as the
sara-i-adl,
 
was establishednear one of the royal palaces on the inner side of the Bada-un-Gate. Allgoods, including foreign imports, were first taken there and their price fixed.Every merchant was registered with the commerce ministry and had to signa bond guaranteeing a regular supply to the goods in which they traded. TheHindu Multani merchants were advanced money by the treasury to importrare commodities for the
sara-i-adl,
some price were subsidized. Costlyfabrics and luxury goods could be sold only to those who have obtainedpermits from the Government. The prices of cattle were also fixed andunscrupulous merchants were deprived of their trading rights.The shopping center for general commodities was under the directcontrol of the commerce ministry. Ala-ud-Din’s Minister of commerce wasalso the Superintendent of weights and Measure and the Controller of theCommercial transactions. He was assisted by Superintendent for eachcommodity. Prices and weight and measure were chequed by sending thechildren employed in the royal pigeon-house to buy petty articles
i
.The pricesfixed for the Delhi market were also applied in the provincial capitals andtowns.During the British regime (1765-1947)
, also known as the
‘Colonial Era’ 
,Government’s economic polices in India were concerned more withprotecting and promoting the British interests than with advancing thewelfare of the native population. The administration’s primary per-occupation was with maintaining law and order, tax collection and defence
.Accordingly much of the legalisation enacted during the British regime wasprimarily aimed at serving the colonial rulers intend of the natives. Therewere, however, some pieces of legislation which protected the overall publicinterest through not necessarily the consumer interest.
Prominent among

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