Group 3 Consumer Protection Act, 1986.

Table Of Content “Consumer is the king. The king needs protection”..........................................................................3 Pre-CPA era.......................................................................................................................................3 External Pressure...............................................................................................................................3 Objectives of the Act.........................................................................................................................4 Salient Features of the Act.................................................................................................................4 Consumer...........................................................................................................................................5 Goods.................................................................................................................................................5 Restricted Trade Practice...................................................................................................................5 Complainant......................................................................................................................................5 Complaint..........................................................................................................................................6 India’s Global Reputation..................................................................................................................8 BUREAUCRAT’S REVENGE.........................................................................................................9 BELYING EXPECTATIONS............................................................................................................9 THE BROOM STICK.....................................................................................................................10 RECALLING UNSAFE GOODS...................................................................................................11 Relief Available to Consumer..........................................................................................................14 Activities of CGSI...........................................................................................................................15 Legal Framework....................................................................................................................15 Complaint Redressal...............................................................................................................15 Product Testing.......................................................................................................................16 Consumer Education For Schools/Colleges...........................................................................16 Consumer Education For Rural Consumers...........................................................................16 Publications............................................................................................................................16 Pedestrian Wing......................................................................................................................16 Forum..............................................................................................................................................17 Purpose and Procedure for Consumer Complaints.................................................................17 Procedure for Consumer complaints......................................................................................18 Steps to Securing Results................................................................................................................18 Where To Complain For Guidance And Help.................................................................................18

History of the consumer movement in the world............................................................................26 Consumers International: The Global Voice for the Consumers.....................................................27 CI’s vision........................................................................................................................................27 CI’s principles..................................................................................................................................27 Governance bodies of Consumers International.............................................................................28 General Assembly...................................................................................................................28 Council....................................................................................................................................29 The Executive.........................................................................................................................29 CI Activities:....................................................................................................................................29 CI’s strategic objectives for 2007–2011..........................................................................................30 United Nations Guidelines for Consumer Protection......................................................................30

Introduction
“Consumer is the king. The king needs protection”
The growing interdependence of the world economy and international character of many business practices have contributed to the development of universal emphasis on consumer rights protection and promotion. Consumers, clients and customer’s world over, are demanding value for money in the form of quality goods and better services. Modern technological developments have no doubt made a great impact on the quality, availability and safety of goods and services. But the fact of life is that the consumers are still victims of unscrupulous and exploitative practices. Exploitation of consumers assumes numerous forms such as adulteration of food, spurious drugs, dubious hire purchase plans, high prices, poor quality, deficient services, deceptive advertisements, hazardous products, black marketing and many more. In addition, with revolution in information technology newer kinds of challenges are thrown on the consumer like cyber crimes, plastic money etc., which affect the consumer in even bigger way. ‘Consumer is sovereign’ and ‘customer is the king’ are nothing more than myths in the present scenario particularly in the developing societies. However, it has been realized and rightly so that the Consumer protection is a socio-economic programme to be pursued by the government as well as the business as the satisfaction of the consumers is in the interest of both. In this context, the government, however, has a primary responsibility to protect the consumers’ interests and rights through appropriate policy measures, legal structure and administrative framework.

Pre-CPA era
In the good olden days the principle of ‘Caveat emptor’, which meant buyer beware governed the relationship between seller and the buyer. In the era of open markets buyer and seller came face to face, seller exhibited his goods, buyer thoroughly examined them and then purchased them. It was assumed that he would use all care and skill while entering into transaction. The Government understood the need to protect consumers from unscrupulous suppliers, and several laws have been made for this purpose. We have the Indian Contract Act, the Sale of Goods Act, the Dangerous Drugs Act, the Agricultural Produce (Grading and Marketing) Act, the Indian Standards Institution (Certification Marks) Act, the Prevention of Food Adulteration Act, the Standards of Weights and Measures Act, etc. which to some extent protect consumer interests. However, these laws require the consumer to initiate action by way of a civil suit involving lengthy legal process which is very expensive and time consuming. Except for the Monopolies and Restrictive Trade Practices (MRTP) Act (now repealed) all the other Acts were mainly punitive and preventive in nature. The consumer could not seek remedy or redressal against the offending trader or manufacturer and negligent, careless providers of services. However the MRTP Commission enabled the consumer to approach it in case of complaints. Inspite of these Acts the consumers did not have any effective mechanism or institutional arrangement for the speedy redressal of their grievances and also the lack of effective popular movement isolated the consumer and his plight only increased. Seeing the pressure mounting from various consumer protection groups and the consumer themselves the Parliament enacted the Consumer Protection Act in 1986.

External Pressure
In the history of the development of consumer policy, April 9, 1985 is a very significant date for it was on that day that the General Assembly of the United Nations adopted a set of general guidelines for consumer protection and the Secretary General of the United Nations was

◦ No lawyer needs to be engaged to represent the case. Salient Features of the Act • • • Provides a powerful fast.authorised to persuade member countries to adopt these guidelines through policy changes or law. the guidelines provide an internationally recognized set of basic objectives particularly for governments of developing and newly independent countries for structuring and strengthening their consumer protection policies and legislations. The act is compensatory in nature. Protection and Promotion of the consumer economic interest 3. • Regulation of combinations. Standards for the safety and quality of consumer goods and services 4. Distribution facilities for consumer goods and services 5. water and pharmaceuticals) 7. These guidelines constitute a comprehensive policy framework outlining what governments need to do to promote consumer protection in following seven areas: 1. compensation may be awarded to consumer for the hardships he has undergone. Physical safety 2. • To promote and sustain competition in markets. so that. Measures enabling consumers to obtain redress 6. Objectives of the Act The purpose of the Act is to provide for the establishment of the Commission: • To prevent practices having adverse effect on competition. • To protect the interests of consumers and • To ensure freedom of trade carried on by other participants in the markets The major focus of the Act is on the following areas: • Prohibition of anti-competitive agreements. The legislative intention behind this Act is to clear all hurdles in promoting competition among business units whether of domestic or foreign origin. Less expensive: ◦ No fee needs to be paid to these forums. • Advocacy of competition policy. Measures relating to specific areas (food. Though not legally binding. • Prohibition against abuse of dominant position. . quasi-judicial system for settlement of consumer grievances. Consumer education and information programme.

Consumer of Services Goods The term “goods” under the Consumer Protection Act means goods as defined in the Sale of Goods Act. 3.Terminology Consumer The Consumer Protection Act is for “Consumer”. Here question arises who is Consumer. and includes stock and shares. Consumer of Goods 2. Complainant • • • • • A consumer. The Act itself gives the definition of Consumer only those who fall into the definition of Consumer given in Act can take benefit of this Act . Delay beyond the period agreed to be a trader in supply of such goods or in providing the services which has led or is likely to lead to rise in the price.This definition is some what different than dictionary/literal meaning. It also specifically excludes some kind of consumers from its preview. hiring or availing of other goods or services. Actionable claim and Money have been specifically excluded from definition of goods. who or which makes a complaint. which are agreed to be severed before sale or under the contract of sale. The definition of Consumer is given in two parts: 1. 1956 (1of 1956)or under any other law for the time being in force. growing crops. and things attached to or forming part of the land. 1930. 2. The sale of Goods Act defines goods as every kind of movable property other than actionable claims and money. Any trade practice which requires a consumer to buy. where there are numerous consumers having the same interest. or Any voluntary consumer association registered under the Companies Act. 2. hire or avail of any goods or. Restricted Trade Practice “Restrictive trade practice” means a trade practice which tends to being about manipulation of price or its conditions of delivery or to affect flow of supplies in the market relating to goods or service in such a manner as to impose on the consumers unjustified costs or restrictions and shall include 1. One or more consumers. . his legal heir or representative. as the case may be services as-condition precedent to buying. grass. In case of death of a consumer. The definition reveals that 1. or The Central Government or any State Government. Things attached to or forming part of land which can be severed satisfy the movability criteria. Goods must be movable.

by or under any law for the time being in force. • A trader or service provider. suffer from one or more defects. has charged for the goods or for the service mentioned in the complaint a price in excess of the price – o Fixed by or under any law for the time being in force o Displayed on the goods or any package containing such goods. • Services which are hazardous or likely to be hazardous to life and safety of the public when used.Complaint “Complaint” means any allegation in writing made by a complainant that— • An unfair trade practice or a restrictive trade practice has been adopted by any trader or service provider. • Displayed on the price list exhibited by him by or under any law for the time being in force. • Agreed between the parties. • In contravention of any standards relating to safety of such goods as required to be complied with. . • The goods bought by him or agreed to be bought by him. • Goods which will be hazardous to life and safety when used or being offered for sale to the public. are being offered by the service provider which such person could have known with due diligence to be injurious to life and safety. • The services hired or availed of or agreed to be hired or availed of by him suffer from deficiency in any respect. as the case may be. • If the trader could have known with due diligence that the goods so offered are unsafe to the public.

For example. and to the formation of consumer organizations which help consumers make better choices in the marketplace. the rights of consumers in India can be listed as under: • • • • • • The right to be protected from all types of hazardous goods and services. such as food. In general. The right to complete consumer education. Consumer protection laws are designed to ensure fair trade competition and the free flow of truthful information in the marketplace. consistent with economic efficiency. The laws are designed to prevent businesses that engage in fraud or specified unfair practices from gaining an advantage over competitors and may provide additional protection for the weak and those unable to take care of themselves. the most significant is the Consumer Protection Act.Consumer Rights Consumer is defined as someone who acquires goods or services for direct use or ownership rather than for resale or use in production and manufacturing. The right to free choice of goods and services. Under this law. we know at least our basic rights and about the courts and procedures that deal with the infringement of our rights. a firm. The Consumer Protection Act. a government may require businesses to disclose detailed information about products—particularly in areas where safety or public health is an issue. It is important that. Consumer protection is linked to the idea of "consumer rights" (that consumers have various rights as consumers). the actual plight of Indian consumers could be declared as completely dismal. everyone. 1986. the level of consumer protection in a country is considered as the correct indicator of the extent of progress of the nation. a Hindu undivided family. In fact. Consumer rights are the rights given to a "consumer" to protect him/her from being cheated by salesman/manufacturer/shopkeeper. can exercise their consumer rights for the goods and services purchased by them. However. 1986 and various other laws like the Standards. as consumers. Very few consumers are aware of their rights or understand their basic consumer rights. Consumer Protection laws are a form of government regulation which aim to protect the rights of consumers. as well as their responsibilities. Weights & Measures Act have been formulated to ensure fair competition in the market place and free flow of true information from the providers of goods and services to those who consume them. Of the several laws that have been enacted to protect the rights of consumers in India. but this topic is treated in Competition law. the success of these laws would depend upon the vigilance of consumers about their rights. The right to seek redressal. Consumer interests can also be protected by promoting competition in the markets which directly and indirectly serve consumers. whenever consumer rights have been infringed. The right to be fully informed about the performance and quality of all goods and services. Even though strong and clear laws exist in India to protect consumer rights. Consumer protection can also be asserted via non-government organizations and individuals as consumer activism. including individuals. • A complaint for infringement of consumer rights could be made under the following circumstances in the nearest designated consumer court: . The right to be heard in all decision-making processes related to consumer interests. and a company.

the Consumer Rights Day. information. declaring four basic consumer rights (choice. In fact the Central Consumer Protection Council has recommended to the Government to enact a Freedom of Information Act on the pattern of a similar law in the US. March 15 every year is celebrated as World Consumer Rights Day. were created as state monopolies ostensibly to protect consumers! Critics of COPRA rightly conclude that it can’t do anything about rising prices. Unlike the Labour Day on 1 May. is not even observed there.S. rules. including those of the government owned public utilities like telephones. in the first place. Another major achievement of the Indian consumer movement in the context of the world scenario. Kennedy in the historic declaration in Congress on March 15. safety and the right to be heard). The consumer movement got a boost and moral support from the late U. The success of "consumerism" is a strong function of consumer awareness and the assistance the movement gets from the government. Also. addition of the enlarged Right to Know in the fundamental rights chapter of the Indian Constitution would only result in meaningful empowerment . as the National Consumers’ Day. India’s Global Reputation Laws. causing injury to health. A sub-continent like India with regional imbalances and diversity of languages. but total glasnost. was to get the government in 1989.no more tight rope walking. This confidence emanates from the empowerment of voluntary organisations in COPRA and other consumer laws. 1962. but it is the rights’ movement of people which produce results in a democracy. which has exclusive courts for consumer redressal. requires not one but several Ralph Nadars. the World Consumer Rights Day. but it has succeeded in bringing about fair play in the supply of goods and services available in the market place. giving substance to the adage: Customer is King. it has acknowledged the rampant consumer abuses. pricing and promote competition. independent Public Utility Regulatory Commissions to debate costing. which has roots in the US..The goods or services bought by a person or agreed to be bought by a person suffer from one or more deficiencies or defects in any respect. One of the greatest achievements of the Indian consumer movement is the enactment of the dynamic consumer law: COPRA. which also has roots in the US. transport. • The consumer has to be aware of his rights and play a key role. regulations and orders (for which India has unparalleled distinction in the Guinness book of records) alone do not protect consumers. power etc. and perhaps see in the near future. It is in this context that it is considered relevant to quote the objectives adopted by the General Assembly of United Nations in 1985. These utilities. However this annual ritual observation does not appear to have produced the desired results. Goods or services that pose a hazard to the safety and life of a person offered for sale. While right to information is enshrined in COPRA. Today India is the only country in the world. knowingly or unknowingly. safety or life. At the IOCU’s 13th World Congress held in Hong Kong during 7-13 July 1991 it came in for praise and developed countries were called upon to emulate. these . to adopt 15 March. COPRA has encouraged active consumer bodies to demand. A recent survey has revealed that a number of consumers in the urban as well as rural areas are not very much aware of the consumer movement and the rights of the consumers. Subsequently. A trader or a service provider charging a price in excess of the price displayed on the goods or the price that had been agreed upon between the parties or the price that had been stipulated under any law in force. Coming 39 years after Independence. President John F. In the same year. • • A trader or a service provider resorting to restrictive or unfair trade practices.

Housing by way of plots or flats or houses has been covered under the definition of ‘services’ under COPRA. we decide to file a complaint what would be the limitation period? Due to these arguments and lobbing the time limit was revised to two years. after research. which was amended by an ordinance in June 1993. the apex consumer court. instead of setting it right or replacing or refunding the price of the defective goods. And tragic because of one surprise which our bureaucrats sprung onto the bill. This would mean that the consumer courts will only entertain complaints relating to: flats. and cases drag on for years. if the Motor Vehicles Act. Most warranties and guarantees on goods expire in one year. Rather than adopt the words: ‘real estate’. They will thus be deprived of the easy redressal avenue by this one-year ‘deadline’. An utter nonsense. Granted that delayed complaints can be entertained. where none existed. The law then proposed a limitation of one year to file complaints. but that would mean a set of lengthy arguments on just the admissibility of the case. is a mixture of sad and happy tidings. Consumers will be angry because the rule on the time limit of 90/150 days provided in COPRA for disposal of cases are practiced more in the breach. BELYING EXPECTATIONS The law belied the consumer affairs Minister. to candidly observe: “India is getting a global reputation for the rapid development of its consumer movement. wherein he says the working of the redressal agencies has helped to arouse the expectations of the people on several other grounds as well. though not religiously. Under this situation. which incidentally always existed. For instance. a noted US consumer activist and a close associate of Ralph Nader. expecting consumers to meet a deadline will be very irritating. Fourthly. This proposal would not only have put consumers at a terrible disadvantage but also annoy them badly.developments inspired Jim Sugarman. in one matter. the National Commission had held that the dispute is covered as a deficiency in the service of housing. The Supreme Court upheld the orders of the National Commission. 1988 provides for certain mandatory safety features which have been ignored by manufacturers. which goes beyond the principles of our well established Limitations Act of 1963. as defined under the MRTP Act. UP Avas evam Vikas Nigam. In a beacon case involving a plot: Garima Shukla vs. houses purchased or to be purchased. and manufacturers often drag on many consumers during this period by attending to complaints. the law also enables consumers to file class action complaints. but there can be no basis to determine the deadline in such matters. a matter which was not even discussed in the high power working group of the Central Consumer Protection Council. wherein courts cannot be approached after the expiry of three years of the last cause of action. A K Antony’s note in the statement of objects and reasons. Since there was no limitation period prescribed under COPRA. . a new jargon: ‘housing construction’ is added. land. the National Commission had pronounced that the principles of the Limitations Act do not apply but can be relied upon.” BUREAUCRAT’S REVENGE COPRA. 1969 from which the whole definition clause of services was borrowed in the first instance. when the ordinance was put on the table of the parliament.

when questions of law were involved. bureaucrats felt that it would give unbridled power to over 450 district fora and 30 state commissions and that would have created havoc. 4. after the so-called consultation. 2. However the president of the State Commission can only be appointed after consultation with the Chief Justice of the concerned high court. These were: 1. particularly the Calcutta High Court. the council had agreed to recommend incorporation of an open. This was recommended because lawyers often delay the settlement of cases by court craft etc. a nominee of the chief justice of the state high court and two consumer activists (one a woman) would be the right form. about . as it were. if not the basis of a complaint. Empowering Consumer Courts by giving them the authority to order cease and desist. as they are not charities but are run from the taxpayer money. The bill now proposes a committee headed by the President of the state commission and the consumer affairs secretary and the state law secretary. but those who know. but they have been given the broomstick. Apparently the belligerent lawyers lobby proved stronger. This type of case is a freak but without such power our consumer courts will be hamstrung in protecting the consumers interest. . It is thus heavily loaded against transparency. 5. So that consumer could get value for money and these white elephants are brought to heel. delays the proceedings especially when an hierarchy of appeals is provided under COPRA where the Supreme Court is the ultimate arbiter. On several occasions. or with his consent or if the consumer court directed the parties to engage lawyers. consultation does not mean consent or concurrence. people have been appointed. The recommendation was that a selection committee headed by the minister and consisting of the secretary in charge of the department.Among several other recommendations of the Central Council. especially when s/he is a retired high court judge. I have seen many a president of the State Commission sitting in the chamber of the secretary. therefore the transparency sought in the selection process will be doubtful. Lawyers were to be debarred except when the complainant had engaged one. In view of several protests by consumers. which cost ITC a large sum of money to get it vacated from the Supreme Court under its extraordinary jurisdiction. For. Presence of two activists would have perhaps changed the odds. or interim injunction or take suo motu action (of its own accord and on its own information) like the MRTP Commission. in spite of opposition. THE BROOM STICK The Council had made several other vital recommendations after long deliberations and critical debates. democratic and a transparent process of selection of the non-official members of consumer courts. Consumer rights were to be put in a separate chapter so that violations of the same could be an additional ground. 3. Services rendered by public health care system and civic bodies were to be covered. Some might remember the case of ITC LTD’s Wills brand being injuncted by a Gangtok district judge. By and large the secretary has to follow the minister’s orders. Writ jurisdiction of high courts has to be excluded by bringing COPRA under Article 323B of the constitution as their interference. The union health ministry prevailed. another major one has also been diluted. These will now continue as decorations in COPRA. for the central council to ‘talk. as against twice as recommended’. so as to meet the ends of justice have not been incorporated.only once in a year.

which will take the consumer movement considerably forward. while that of a state commission to Rs 20 lakh. like the BVO case when this toxic chemical was banned but continued to be used in soft drinks like Limca. But this has also not been inserted in the amendment bill. especially in view of the hectic lobbying by the medical fraternity and other professional groups. Restrictive trade practices have been added. but consumers may not be able to challenge it. the National Commission. also enabling the courts to stop these. where illustrations are given. • A major beneficial change has been added to cover agreements for purchase. who will in turn report to the National Commission. Costs would be awardable to consumers or their organisations that win cases. Complaints against goods purchased for commercial purpose will ordinarily not be adjudicable under COPRA save and except where such goods in dispute have been purchased by a self-employed businessperson like a taxi owner-driver. A proper reporting system and procedures will also be incorporated.000 and/or undergo imprisonment of upto three years like other offenders. This would cover disputes relating to booking of flats. Following the Supreme Court order. Beyond this.Section 1(4) of COPRA says this Act will apply to all goods and services. But the clause does not empower consumers to challenge hazards in services. And if they don’t pay up. This will entitle consumers and consumer groups to challenge harmful goods. These are: Enhancement in the scope of relief under COPRA to stop the sale of and/or order withdrawing the marketing of hazardous goods. they could face a worse fate of paying a further fine of upto Rs 10. it was proposed to put a semi-colon. provided a law says so. RECALLING UNSAFE GOODS So much so for the bureaucratic revenge and/or sabotage. To correct the anomaly. • • • • • In the coming years. cars. No mention of the age limits of members of the district forums. as against the earlier provision for only goods or services actually purchased. as well as unfair trade practices. in the Common Cause Vs Union of India case. Age limit of the members of the state commissions has been fixed at 67. and under the relief section power has also been given to consumer courts to remove defects and deficiencies in services. it was understood that it was an all inclusive definition and exclusions had to be specified. Simultaneously consumers who file frivolous or vexatious complaints could be penalised with a fine of upto Rs 10. Each citizen in a democracy derives his power at the time of elections and . This means that there would be a mini-MRTP Commission in every district. However there are many welcome steps. while that of the national commission at 70. “not limited to” before the illustrations. For instance the Electricity Act provides for certain safety measures to be adopted by the suppliers. Monetary jurisdiction of a district forum has been raised to Rs 5 lakh.000. administrative control of district fora will now be under the state commissions. where delivery has not been made. Gold Spot etc. This is more so surprising when in all the consumer rights in COPRA ‘services’ have been added along with ‘goods’. therefore under the definition of services. and add. though confused as well. every consumer in his own interest has to realize his role and importance in the right perspective. scooters and similar contracts.

. It is very often stated "Customer is sovereign and consumer is the King. In a competitive economic environment the consumer has to exercise his choice either in favour of or against the goods and services. Similarly the consumers in society get a position in the market depending upon what they do or do not do." If that is really so. His choice is going to be vital and final. This is the right time to act. After all the dictum in democracy is. He should realize his importance and prepare himself to exercise his rights with responsibility. why do we have the Consumer Protection Act? Why is there a need for protecting the King? Should it not be rightly called "Consumer Sovereignty Act"? It is for the consumers to decide.exercises it through the ballot. Let us prepare for the next millennium and usher in a new era of "Consumerism". It is agreed on all hands that "consumer empowerment" in India has a long way to go. the citizens get a government they deserve.

Above them State level Consumer Courts are constituted which are called State Commission and on National level there is National Commission Establishment of Consumer Disputes Redressal Agencies. -Appeal is a legal instrumentality whereby a person not satisfied with the findings of a court Appeals against the orders of any District Forum within the State Appeals against the orders of any State Commission Appeal Aggrieved by Aggrieved order made by order by DCDRF made by SCDRC Aggrieved by order made by NCDRC .Consumer Courts Consumer Protection Act. Category Amount Description The choice of court will depend on the amount of transaction and relief you seek and the location where the cause of action arises DCDRF <Rs. 20 Lakhs SCDRC >Rs. if it deems fit. 1986 provides three tier Courts for the adjudication of Consumer Disputes. 20 Lakhs and <Rs. 1 Crore NCDRC >Rs. The lowest level courts are constituted at District level which is called District Courts. or works for gain -The case can also be filed in the city / state where the cause of action has occurred. namely:Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum to be known as the "District Forum" established by the State Government in each district of the State by notification: 1. Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission to be known as the "State Commission" established by the State Government in the State by notification. 2. 1 Crore Supreme court Where can the complaint be filled . the following agencies. and 3. National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission established by the Central Government by notification. establish more than one District Forum in a district. has registered office. There shall be established for the purposes of this Act.The case is filed in the city / state where the Opposite Party resides. Provided that the State Government may. branch.

Removal of defects or deficiencies in the services. Replacement of the goods. or Award for adequate costs to parties . the Redressal Forums may give order for one or more of the following relief: • • • • • • • • • Removal of defects from the goods. Award of compensation for the loss or injury suffered. Refund of the price paid. Discontinuance of unfair trade practices or restrictive trade practices or direction not to repeat them. Withdrawal of the hazardous goods from being offered to sale.has an option to go to a higher court to present his case and seek justice. -An appeal against order can be made within a period of thirty days from the date of the order Relief Available to Consumer Depending on the facts and circumstances.

CGSI received the National Award for consumer Protection in 1991. The culprits were never brought to justice. CGSI participates in a large number of technical committees and government decisionmaking bodies. unfulfilled manufacture guarantees. In this pursuit of "self-sufficiency". founded in 1966. CGSI is the only Indian consumer organization to be a council member of Consumer International for 25 years. initiates training projects in rural areas. both sides are brought together to resolve the issue. however. The CGSI'S Complaints Committee meets twice a week. In one infamous case. defective household appliances. Complaint Redressal CGSI handles consumer complaints and offers legal guidance to those wishing to file suits in the Consumer Court. forty persons were struck with dropsy and glaucoma after consuming groundnut oil adulterated with toxic argimon oil. Mr.Consumer Guidance Society Of India (CGSI) Since Independence. 70% of the thousands of complaints referred to CGSI have been redressed. Many thousands of grievances have been handled over the years. Pai. In case where there are a number of complaint against a particular party. . with 70% success in favour of the complaints cover medical/surgical malpractice and negligence. They formed the Consumer Guidance Society of India (CGSI) to resist consumer exploitation of all forms. CGSI established formal Product Testing in India. and a host of other ills. This become a reality in 1986. Special Consumer Court and a Directorate for implementation of the Act. In 1975. CGSI is a member of the Maharashtra State Consumer Protection Council. CGSI was the first to demand a Consumer Protection Act with Consumer Courts to implement it. home remedies. India has been striving to develop and strengthen its industrial base. endemic shortages leading to black marketing and profiteering. Following are some of the landmarks achieved by CGSI: • • • • • • • • • • CGSI is the earliest consumer organisation in India. CGSI was the first to publish a monthly magazine "Keemat" carrying information of importance to consumer. insurance nonpayment. sub-standard drugs and medicines. This outrage energised nine ladies to organize a movement to fight for consumer rights. short weights and measure.A.T. Promotes publicity drives. Activities of CGSI Legal Framework CGSI was the first consumer organisation to demand special Consumer Court for redressal of consumers' complaints. to press for a comprehensive Consumer Protection Act. the consumer has been made to endure sub-standard products and services: adulterated foods. The first two have now become a reality. To date. spurious and hazardous drugs. CGSI led a delegation of five consumer organisations from different parts of India to the then Minister for food and Civil Supplies. exorbitant prices. represents consumer interests with Government and other bodies. CGSI promotes consumer education.

the first Consumer magazine in India to be published regularly every month. Safety At Home. Economics and Home science. immersion heaters. Edible Oils.767 potential activists have been given special training in Consumer Activision. CGSI established the facility of product testing. with a staff of six and funding from Actionaid. the Environment. Over 32. ISI Certification for pressure stoves became mandatory. milk. To the best of our knowledge. 'surma'. rubber teats. etc. A food adulteration testing kit has been developed for use by the lay consumer. In 1986. CGSI is the first NGO in this country to start a Forum for the pedestrians. Food. our efforts were fruitful. electricity supply. etc. Rights & Responsibilities of Consumers. etc. Pesticides. After nearly two years of meetings and discussions. Three local Consumer groups have been setup in different areas by the Consumers themselves. Food Adulteration. Consumer training was given to people in 112 villages by 1999. 107 training programmes were organised and 5.irons. The subject taught are the Consumer Moment. later. geysers. CGSI has also produced Consumer Guides on subject like Electrical Appliances. insurance. misleading advertising claims. "Keemat": edible oils. the Pressure Stoves Quality Control Order was passed.poor quality foods and drinks. powdered spices. Consumer Education For Rural Consumers CGSI started a rural project in the villages of Thane and Raigad districts (Maharashtra) in 1997. This culminated in the enactment of the Household Electrical Appliances (Quality Control) Order. are project-based and more practical in nature then theoretical or examination-oriented.300 people have received Consumer Education through 750 talks and demonstrations in the 2 years of the project. bath soaps and toothpaste. The decision came as a logical follow-up of the Hon'ble Mumbai High Court order delivered in 1998 on CGSI's writ petition filed earlier. Subsequently tests were carried out on electrical appliances and fittings . real estate. more are expected to come up soon. holding talks and redressing complaints. telephones. CGSI sent the results to the government and Indian Standards Institution (ISI) with a demand for mandatory certification. plastic water bottles. clinical thermometers. It first assessed the safety and performance of domestic pressure stoves and found that two-third of the samples tested failed in safety Parameters. Weights and Measures. mineral water. soft drinks. Pedestrian Wing To secure basic rights of pedestrians to walk in safety. progressively covering students from the 4th Standard upwards. Consumer Education For Schools/Colleges CGSI's Education Committee members had been working with other likeminded educationists to formally introduce Consumer Education in the school curriculum. Product Testing As early as 1977. Safe Blood. . Publications "Keemat" is now in its 32th year of publications. Many other products were tested and reports published in the Society's monthly Journal. This topics included under existing subjects like Civics. the Consumer in the Market Place. CGSI launched The Pedestrian Wing on 3rd June 1999 at a public meeting held at the Society's premises. constituting as they do the single largest segment of the traffic stream in our country. the Maharashtra Education Board introduced Consumer Education at the 9th Standard Level. bread. and these are now actively organising exhibitions. In 1994. and grievances concerning investments. Adulteration.

The Pedestrian Wing seeks to promote walking as an ideal mode of short distance transportation considering it's many beneficial effects. To propagate and secure road infrastructure related to pavements such as • • • • • hand railings along the pavements properly marked and painted pedestrian crossings fitted with electronic signals traffic islands road dividers proper parking spaces 6. To facilitate and promote availability of user-friendly Public Transport and encourage it's use by the public. from HQ to Ward level for redressal of grievances of pedestrians and improvement in facilities. etc. To network and co-operate with all Government. 5. Traffic Advisory Committee of Traffic Police of Mumbai and co-ordination committee of RTA. Pedestrian Wing also works closely with like-minded NGOs in the field such as WORSPA. To create public awareness about the rights and responsibilities of Pedestrians and fight for their due rights.The objectives of Pedestrian Wing are as follows: 1." Consumer must not hesitate to complain about adulteration. whether member or not. PATRA. wherever needed. To fight for proper. besides keeping in close touch with the Pedestrian Association of U. Indian consumers are . Pedestrian Wing holds a ' Open House ' on 1st Friday of every month at 5 PM at CGSI office when anyone. As a corollary to this.Pedestrian Wing is a special invitee to MCGM Inter-Utility Apex Committee meeting/ Zonal level meetings. Citispace. To do all that is necessary to secure the availability of use at least 90% of the time proper smooth. To spread awareness about the importance of walking as a mode of transport and facilitate its use for short distance transportation. Pedestrian Wing has already many active members spread out all over Mumbai including suburbs. orderly and safe Traffic Management and conduct/handling of all related matters conducive to minimum vehicular pollution. Forum Purpose and Procedure for Consumer Complaints Consumer who complain allow themselves to be brainwashed into believing that they are troublemakers. sub-standard drugs and cosmetics. level and properly constructed pavements. CGSI . Traffic Police. 3. Municipal and like minded NGOs. shoddy product quality. desirous of seeking redressal of his pedestrian/ traffic grievance or making a suggestion for improvement in pedestrian facilities is welcome to attend. Pedestrian Wing activities include regular and continuous interaction with MCGM. unsatisfactory after-sales service. Pedestrian Wing actively encourages and supports citizens in their bid to secure for themselves all the facilities necessary for their safety to enjoy this fundamental right. WIAA. 7. AGNI. Citizen groups working or engaged in transportation fields towards achieving the above objectives. free of encroachments.e. Transport Commissioner and RTOs at all levels i. Manufactures and retailers Fob off dissatisfied consumers with a bland:"We have had no complaints. 4. 2.K. NeTrA. LPA etc.

Steps to Securing Results Your complaint should cover the following: 1. 3. Present it politely: this elicits co-operation. If your claim exceeds this amount you will have to refer your complaints to the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission at New Delhi. Special Consumer Courts and a Directorate to implement the Act. date of manufacture and ingredients are marked on all packages.5 Lakhs. Three copies of the complaint together with all the annexure for the Forum. 9. If the opposite company's office is in another State. Where To Complain For Guidance And Help Complaints of a representative nature may be filed by registered consumer organisations like Consumer Guidance Society of India. 4. With these. 8. The claim amount should be within reasonable Limits and Justifiable. This Act. Procedure for Consumer complaints 1. For such enquiries. 4. Keep copies of your letters. Mumbai 400 001. as well as "Agmark" and the "ISI" mark. There is also the Package Commodities Act which insists that weights.to the State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission if your claim is between Rs. Don't give up if your complaint is valid. Vigilant consumerism can put teeth into their Function. Hindi or English. and date of cash Memo.and date of Cash Memo No. In case of suspected Food and drug adulteration. Retain all originals. make the complaint in English. 2. 5. you may seek guidance from: . write to the manufacturer. If a consumer organisation is unable to get your complaint redressed. write to the Consumer Guidance Society of India. 7. can be of substantial assistance in the fight for consumer's rights. price. Preserve cash memos and warranty card. Post cards are inadvisable.5 Lakhs and Rs. 5. No.20 Lakhs. If products with ISI/AGMark certification perform poorly. 2. 6. and date of Warranty card. Time. If there is no response. 10. Retain samples where possible. if any. Be sure the complaint is sound. Relief claimed by you should be in clear words: replacement/removal of defect or return of price. quoting No. If he is unresponsive. and extra sets for each of the opponents should be filed. you may complain to your District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum if your compensation claim is below Rs. Stand your ground. compensation for expenses incurred as well as physical/mental torture. place and cause of the complaint. Name and address of the opposite Parties. Block 'j' Mahapalika Marg. Name and address of the complainant in full.fortunate to be covered by the Consumer Protection Act 1986. first approach the retailer. ISI certification guarantees replacement. He may have a valid explanation. along with supporting document as exhibits in Marathi. Particulars in detail. The complaint may be posted.or any other consumer society you know of. write to the respective agency. write to the State health authority. 3.

130/132 Shaheed Bhagatsingh Road opp. Mumbai 400 034 Banking Ombudsman (Maharashtra & Goa) c/o. Cama Hospital. Mumbai Grahak Panchayat Grahak Bhavan.Lion Gate Mumbai 400 039 Tel.No: 2620 9319/2623 8124 HOW AND WHERE TO COMPLAIN FOR GUIDANCE AND HELP Consumer Disputes Redressal Forums are established at each District Level and State Commissions at Each State Capital CONSUMER GUIDANCE SOCIETY OF INDIA.R. Lion Gate.opp.No: 2284 4783 3. Mumbai 400 025 M. Reserve Bank of India Garment House. Great Western Bldg. Mahapalika Marg. Mumbai 400 039 Tel.J.1.Road. Sant Dnyaneshwar Marg Juhu Vile Parle. A. 2262 1612 BUSINESS RELATED MATTERS Council For fair Business Practices. of Banking Operations and Devlopment Reserve Bank of India The Arcade Word Trade Centre Cuff Parade Mumbai 400 005 PUBLIC VEHICLE COMPLAINTS Additional Commissioner of Police (Traffic) Traffic Control Branch Pochkhanawala Road Worli.NO.No.Gr. Mahapalika marg opp."J" Block.Worli Mumbai 400 018 Tel: 2492 4607/2496 0893 . 2284 4783/2288 5249 BANKING COMPLAINTS Dept. Council for Fair Business Practices Great Western Building 130/132 Shaheed Bhagatsingh Road opp.P.mumbai 400 001 TEL.No: 2262 1612 Fax No: 2265 9715 2.B.D Scheme near Cooper Hospital Mumbai 400 056 Tel.V. Cama Hospital Mumbai 400 001 Tel. WEIGHTS & MEASURES COMPLAINTS Regional Transport Officer (RTO) Bombay Central Bodyguards Lines Tulsiwadi.P.Floor Dr. The Complaints Committee Consumer Guidance Society of India Block J.

Hospital. Old Admn. Bldg Mahul Chembur 400 074 Tel: 2554 3125 Extn.-4 p.No: 2642 2361/65 Thane: Tel.No: 2531 1988 POSTAL COMPLAINTS IF NOT SOLVED BY LOCAL POST OFFICE The Chief Post Master General General Post Office (GPO) Mumbai 400 001 Visiting Hrs.O.2nd floor Acharya Road.m & 5 p.Raigad) Tel: 2722 2418 Fax: 2722 2420 RATIONING COMPLAINTS Controller of Rationing Royal Insurance Bldg J.Ltd Richardson Cruddas Building near J.Department of Legal Metrology Weights & Measures.Ltd P.Post Office Chembur (w) Mumbai 400 071 Tel: 2555 2499 . 24414/2554 0807 Hindustan Petroleum Co.Goa and Officer in-charge Customer Relation Center Bharat Petroleum Co.Tata Road.Churchgate Mumbai 400 020 FOOD.8 Uran 400 702 (Dist. 2204 4952 Thane: 2540 7332 Vashi: 2757 4074 CENTRAL RAILWAY For General Complaints apporach Director of Public Grievances.COSMETICS & DRUG COMPLAINTS Food & Drugs Administration Survey No. Contact Principal Company Customer Relation Centre (upto Malad & Mulund) Officer in-charge Customer Relation Center Bharat Petroleum Co.Zonal Office or Divisional Office in respective area. Govt.J.Dahisar. Thane & Raigad Districts Officer in-charge Customer Relation Center Bharat Petroleum Co.Road.Borivli.Madhya Pradesh.Ltd Tagore Nagar. For refund pilferage contect Chief Claims Officer.Vikhroli (e) Mumbai 400 083 Tel: 2574 8628 Kandivli. Barracks No.of India Govt.341 Bandra Kurla Complex Bandra (E) Mumbai 400 051 Tel.Nr.J.J.Byculla Mumbai 400 008 Tel: 2371 94612/2371 9636 FOR HELP Rationing Kruti Samiti Rajashree Bldg. NON-BANKING FINANCE COMPANY (NBFC) DEPOSITS For Maharashtra.Box No.7 Free Press Journal Marg Mumbai 400 021 Tel: 2202 3354.Ltd 4th Floor.m. every Wednesday.Gujarat.CST Mumbai LPG SUPPLY LPG complaints against Dealers.

1 Wagle Industrial Estate Road No.Company Law Board.Thane & Navi Mumbai etc. 2417 1332 .S. Tel.in the event of premises remaining closed for a long period resulting in nil consumption of Electricity. Thane (West) Approach Electrical Inspector's Office in writing after giving notice to office of respective Electricity Board. Ballard Estate. PROVIDENT FUND Ministry of Personnal Public OR Consumer Forum Grievances & Pensions Dept.G. Electrical Inspector's Office is authorised to grant stay against disconnection of electricity supply.No: 2655 6141 MSEB Complaint for Kalyan area: The Electrial Inspector. Bandra (E) Mumbai 400 051.by Demand Draft/Pay Order in favour of "Pay & Account Officer.) ELECTRICITY COMPLAINTS IF NOT SOLVED BY ELECTRICITY BOARD CONTACT: BEST Complaints: The Electrical Inspector Dept of Industries Energy & Labour 3rd floor.Mumbai 400 001.5 lakhs and for city limit upto Tardeo PHONE: 2417 1360. near Threee Petrol Pump Thane(west) as per jurisdiction for legal remedy For claims upto Rs. N. Consumer are advised to inform Zonal Office of Electricity Board of respective area in writing in advance. Rao Road.of Pension & Pensioners Welfare 3rd Floor. Western Region Bench. of Company Affairs. Parel.Govt. at New Delhi/Calcutta/Mumbai/Chennai as per jurisdiction. Dept.Colony.50/. Dept.No.T.4 in duplicate along with fee of Rs. 2nd Floor. of Industries Division No.Energy & Labour Hari Niwas.C.B/62.Daman & Diu.Union Territories of Dadra Haveli. House 15th Narottam Morarje Marg.Lok Nayak Bhavan Khan Market. Phaltan Road. of Industries. Motha market Bldg.No: 2267 6889 MSEB Complaints: (Bhandup. Tel.Bldg.Company Law Board.Mulund. Bench Office. Mumbai 400 038 (Apply in orescribed from No.11. Hospital Off S.)The Electrical Inspector Dept. BEST Complaints: The Electrical Inspector Dept of Industries Energy & Labour Opp.New Delhi 110 003 GUIDELINES FOR FILING COMPLAINTS BEFORE THE CONSUMER DISPUTES REDRESSAL FORUM The President Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum Additional Bombay District Anna Bhavan Near M.

often with disastrous consequences. Gadewar Asst.5 lakhs and for suburban Limits PHONE: 2655 1625 For claims upto Rs.K.5 lakhs for Thane District PHONE: 2534 4069 (Time: 11. Vakharia N. In order to curb the menace.B. the Central Government has constituted a committee to study the problem of spurious drugs.Capitol Cinema Hazarimal Somani Marg Mumabi 400 001 The President National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission A'Wing. Commissioner (I.G.MUMBAI: 400 012 The President Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum Bombay District Arun Chamber.) Drugs Inspector (I. Mahim PHONE: 2493 7770 For claims upto Rs.B.) Drugs Inspector (I. Janpat Bhavan New Delhi 110 001 For claims upto Rs.m.5th Floor. 2nd Floor Office of Collectorate Thane (W) 400 601 The President Maharashtra State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission 102 Old Administrative Staff College opp.5 lakhs but upto Rs.20 lakhs.) 26592519-Direct 26592361-65 Extn.366 " " .B. India has the dubious distinction of being the world leader in counterfeit drug production.5 lakhs and for city limit upto Sion. 20 Lakhs PHONE:2207 2097 For claims above Rs.) Drugs Inspector (I.362 " Extn. The following officers of Maharashtra FDA are identified as the nodal officers: Name of Officer Designation Telephone Number/s Office B. Waghmare G.214.B.00 p.A.M.m.3rd Floor Near Chetna College Bandra (e) Mumbai 400 051 The President Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum Room No.) For claims upto Rs.6th Floor MUMBAI 400-034 The President Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum New Administrative Bldg. to 2. Spurious/Counterfeit Drugs The World Health Organisation (WHO) could well say it told us so. Gandhi K.00 a.

like the servant. many funds may be tempted to water down the attractive offers made to consumers at the time of collecting money. Consumer Courts however.000 as promised. the bank moved the state commission in appeal.000 units of Rs10 each of Canara Bank Mutual Fund's Cantriple Scheme wherein it was announced that all those who invested in the scheme would be rewarded with 300% returns after eight years. On maturity. is hired to perform a specific task. the national commission noted that the bank had stated in its ‘objectives’ printed prominently in the scheme that it was meant to triple the investment of the consumer. It includes any beneficiary of such service other than the one who actually hires or avails of the service for consideration and such services are availed with the approval of such person. D’Souza submitted his units for redemption. The ‘how’ is left up to the specific discretion of the independent contractor (doctor).15. which is a contract of personal service that should be exempted from CPA. This can be explained you with the help of examples: Example 1: Medical The NCDRC’s claim of medical professionals argues that the doctor-patient relationship is similar to master – servant relationship. So. Not satisfied with this order. he received a cheque of Rs2.Gross Negligence Relationship between consumer and Services in the “Consumer Protection Act “ For the purpose of "services". Going carefully through the material on record. Repeated pleas brought no relief and he filed a complaint in the local District Consumer Dispute Redressal Forum. This principle was laid down in the Trustees vs.9% till the date of payment.450 with interest thereon at the rate of 14. plus costs of Rs6. The commission further chided the bank for not bringing any publicity material on record to show that due publicity as claimed was given to the change in the scheme at the relevant time. It is also said that the doctor is an independent contractor and the doctor. The Forum passed an order directing Canara Bank to pay Rs38. However. the doctor-patient relationship is a contract for personal service and as such. but it was dismissed as without merit. The NCDRC’s order decreed that the doctor – patient relationship is a contract for personal service and it is not master – servant relationship.80. Example 2: Mutual Funds: With the economic downturn hitting many mutual fund schemes.000. . will not allow such a turnaround. It further stated that the condition in the printed document after the statement of objectives could not overrule the main objective. and done.640 from the bank. and when. cannot be excluded from CPA. the master or principal (the hirer) is allowed to direct only what is to be done. One who hires or avails of any service or services for a consideration which has been paid or promised or partly paid and partly promised or under any system of deferred payment II. Instead of getting Rs4. D’Souza had purchased 12. Robert Cyril D'Souza and another in a recent order of the National Consumer Dispute Redressal Commission. The bank then approached the national commission for relief. Mr. a "consumer" means a person belonging to the following categories: I.

A ‘dropped call’ is one in which the caller or receiver suddenly go offline in the middle of a call. It has been worked out that in such circumstances. It is significant to note that call rates are in pulses of one minute in India and a call which is dropped either in the first minute itself (which is very common) or in the midst of a conversation. say 2% (it is internationally accepted that in certain circumstances a call drop may occur for unknown reasons). but at least nobody will enrich himself at the expense of the consumer. which is worth delving deeper into. Heavy penalties must be levied on companies whose call drop rate exceeds. This undue gain has gone unnoticed by the public and authorities because consumers are unaware of the implications of dropped calls and the authorities find themselves powerless in the absence of rules to rein in the recalcitrant service providers. an alarming jump in ‘dropped calls’ by mobile subscribers has led two mobile service providers to gain Rs900 crore and Rs800 crore respectively. The service providers must be mandated to install the device which tracks call drops and these must be reported to TRAI. starting a fresh billing cycle. the national commission dismissed the revision application of the bank. This undue gain of the cell operators at the cost of the average consumer has the making of a scam.Holding that it was unbecoming of a bank to change the terms without notice and acceptance by the consumer. results in a fresh call being made. Dropped calls can now be very accurately measured by scientific methods available all over the world and installed by some of the more conscientious mobile service providers in India. Example 3: Gaining from dropped calls According to sources in the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI). Lastly. There is thus no alternative for TRAI but to come down heavily on such mischief which heavily benefits the mobile service companies. Consumers must have a column in their bills mentioning the number of calls dropped in a billing cycle and in case this exceeds a certain norm. any excess amount arising from such undue billing should be credited to a Consumer Welfare Fund under the TRAI. The causes for this phenomenon are failure at the transmission tower of the service provider or excessive congestion on the tower. . Another solution is that TRAI insists for call rates to be offered in seconds rather than in minutes. it appeared that he was satisfied with the order of the lower courts. It is only by the use of this technology that TRAI has been able to gauge the extent of dropped calls which is as high as 9% to 11% for the two erring providers mentioned above. most subscribers will end up paying for an additional minute. be entitled to a refund which is twice the call rate as per their respective plans. Call drops will still continue to irritate. People who travel from one place to another often experience dropped calls because the seamless transfer of the call from one tower to another is hampered because of congestion. observing that since the consumer had not approached it in appeal.

with a remit to make markets work well for consumers. municipal level by Trading Standards departments. and at a local. restitution or even criminal law. 4. Republic of China (Taiwan) Consumer Protection Law in the Republic of China (Taiwan) is the national special law which specifically protects the interests and safety of end-user using the products or services provided by business operators. Consumer Protection issues are dealt with when complaints are made to the Director-General of Fair Trade. The Office of Fair Trading also acts as the UK's official consumer and competition watchdog.Governance of Consumer Protection Law in other countries 1.S. At the state level. the matter judicially treated as tort. coordinating. as member state of the European Union. General consumer advice can be obtained from Consumer Direct or via a local branch of the Citizen's Advice Bureau. United States In the United States a variety of laws at both the federal or state levels regulate consumer affairs. impose an injunction or take the matter to litigation. Australia The corresponding agency is the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission or the individual State Consumer Affairs agencies. Germany A minister of the federal cabinet is responsible for consumer rights and protection. The Australian Securities and Investments Commission have responsibility for consumer protection regulation of financial services and products. Department of Justice. the issuing authority has to take into account that this affects the supplier's constitutionally protected economic liberty. Domestic (UK) laws originated within the ambit of contract and tort but. many states have a Department of Consumer Affairs devoted to regulating certain industries and protecting consumers who use goods and services from those industries. is bound by the consumer protection directives of the EU. 5. New Zealand The corresponding agency is the Ministry of Consumer Affairs and the New Zealand Commerce Commission. where domestic law is in question. with the influence of EU law. 3. 2. The Office of Fair Trading will then investigates. reporting any unsafe products/services and periodically reviewing the legislation. In many circumstances. contract. . When issuing public warnings about products and services. Federal consumer protection laws are mainly enforced by the Federal Trade Commission and the U. it is emerging as an independent area of law. Consumer Protection Commission of Executive Yuan serves as an ombudsman supervising. 6. United Kingdom The United Kingdom.

a regional office was created in Asia. Its advisory committee came from India. Fiji and the Philippines. provide independent advice. took IOCU into new ways of campaigning and advocacy. Consumer organizations sprang up to analyze the products. • The need for a global consumer voice: IOCU published a Latin American newsletter through its member organization in Mexico from 1981 and eventually opened a regional office in Uruguay in 1986. Malaysia. IOCU's role in the networks made it one of the early leaders of the international NGO community. • Regional offices: In the early 1970s. and played a leading role in setting up issue-based networks with partners from outside the consumer movement. Among them. The global consumer movement was born. access to basic goods and services. • Consumer boom: The increasing number of consumer goods on offer was accompanied by rising wages across Europe and North America. • Testing: The following years saw a steady expansion in testing collaboration among these new organizations and a widening of focus for IOCU. head of the Asia Pacific Office.was adopted by the UN in 1985 after 10 years of campaigning. Five of the 17 organizations present signed papers to create the International Organization of Consumers Unions (IOCU). including the International Baby Food Action Network (IBFAN). and to challenge rogue traders. Singapore.History of the consumer movement in the world • Consumer rights take hold: The first ever international conference of leaders from consumer organizations took place in The Hague on March 1960.the United Nations Guidelines on Consumer Protection . • Issue-based networks: Anwar Fazal. and particularly the need to address poverty. This gave important legitimacy to the principles of consumer rights and practical support for developing national consumer protection legislation. Work began in Africa in the late 1980s leading to the set up of a regional office in Zimbabwe in 1994. These networks were early pioneers of a new method of campaigning for NGOs. Newly formed groups were invited to join from across the world and IOCU's first global newsletter was launched. and the challenges faced by consumers in developing countries. • The developing world: Meanwhile at the biennial conferences that IOCU organized. leaders spoke of a wider consumer agenda. the seminal international document of the consumer movement . which brought together disparate groups on a particular issue for a particular purpose. He targeted transnational corporations with specific campaigns. . • UN Guidelines on Consumer Protection: These methods and activities brought results. a very different stakeholder group from the founders of IOCU itself.

a transition symbolized by a change of name from IOCU to Consumers International (CI) in 1995. serves as the only independent and authoritative global voice for consumers. CI is fighting for a fair. CI’s vision • • CI is working to put the rights of consumers at the heart of decision-making. safe and sustainable future for all consumers in a global marketplace increasingly dominated by international corporations. training both in methods (such as institutional management. a much-altered organization was in place. • IOCU becomes Consumers International: By the late 1990s. CI is building a powerful international movement to help protect and empower consumers everywhere. Brazil and Kenya. Founded in 1960. • WTO: Advocacy began to focus on international trade negotiations. World Congresses were held for the first time in Latin America (Chile. These developments in global governance made it increasingly difficult for individual countries to adopt national standards that were different from those agreed internationally. Many publications appeared in three languages. Campaigning and member development was a particular priority in Central and Eastern Europe and in Africa. working together with its members. In the former. 1997) and then Africa (South Africa. and then with the demands of preparations to join the EU. The consumer movement had indeed become global. And CI's Presidents came. CI’s vision is a world where everyone has access to safe and sustainable goods and services. particularly those of the newly formed World Trade Organization (WTO). Over time. the consumer movement has developed this vision into a set of eight basic consumer rights which now define and inspire much of the work CI and its members do: . IOCU also increased its work at the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and the Codex Alimentarius Commission (food standards) as international standards became the reference point for disputes about artificial barriers to trade. 1962. successively. CI helped create a sustainable consumer presence very nearly from scratch in countries struggling first with democracy and transition to market economies. CI’s principles On 15 March. from Indonesia. Membership numbers increased to nearly 250 from around 115 countries. US President John F. Australia.• Capacity building: Through the 1990s IOCU managed extensive capacity building programmes in all parts of the world. With over 220 member organizations in 115 countries. Consumers International: The Global Voice for the Consumers Consumers International (CI) is the world federation of consumer groups that. research and fundraising) and on specific issues. Kennedy delivered an historic address to the US Congress in which he outlined his vision of consumer rights. Hong Kong. 2000). This was the first time any politician had formerly set out such principles. and where the strength of our collective power is used for the good of consumers throughout the world.

shelter. 2. while being aware of basic consumer rights and responsibilities and how to act on them. 6. General Assembly 2.To have consumer interests represented in the making and execution of government policy. The General Assembly has the following duties to: • Elect a President. The right to safety .To be given the facts needed to make an informed choice.To be able to select from a range of products and services. The right to consumer education . and in the development of products and services. The right to be heard . 5.To acquire knowledge and skills needed to make informed. 7. 4. The right to a healthy environment -To live and work in an environment which is nonthreatening to the well-being of present and future generations. education. health care.To have access to basic. 8. essential goods and services: adequate food. and to make resolutions for these purposes • Approve or to withhold approval from the whole or any part of reports submitted on behalf of the Council • Amend CI's Memorandum or Articles of Association . public utilities. and to be protected against dishonest or misleading advertising and labeling.1. clothing. who is the Chairperson of the General Assembly. shoddy goods or unsatisfactory services. The right to satisfaction of basic needs . Executive General Assembly The General Assembly consists of the Voting Delegates of the Full Members of CI and must take place at least once in any four-year period. water and sanitation. Governance bodies of Consumers International The Consumers International (CI) governing bodies consist of the: 1. including compensation for misrepresentation. of the Council and of the Executive • Elect the Members of the Council to serve until the next meeting of the General Assembly • Establish the general policies that the Council and the Executive should act upon. production processes and services which are hazardous to health or life. Council 3. confident choices about goods and services. 3. offered at competitive prices with an assurance of satisfactory quality.To receive a fair settlement of just claims. The right to choose . The right to be informed . The right to redress .To be protected against products.

CI Activities: • CI campaigns on the international issues that matter to consumers everywhere. The Council normally meets once in each calendar year. they regularly take part in and contribute to CI programmes and campaigns. Council The Council comprises of the President. and in appointing the Director General). International Organization of Standardization (ISO). • Raising awareness about purchasing choices through clear. • Pressing consumer concerns through our official representation at global bodies such as the United Nations (UN). 13 members directly elected by the General Assembly. The Council has two principal tasks: • • It has various specific duties as the Board of the organization (for example. setting strategic direction and priorities. • CI is also committed to advancing consumer rights by building better consumer organizations around the world. • Working with national member organizations to influence governments. • CI seeks to hold corporations to account and demands government action to put consumer concerns first. All members serve four year terms. which are functions carried out by the Director General and staff. This means achieving real changes in government policy and corporate behavior while raising awareness of consumer rights and responsibilities. in financial oversight and reporting. either as individual experts/representatives of their own organizations or as spokespersons for CI. World Health Organization (WHO).• Liquidate CI under the provisions of these Articles. and up to six other members co-opted by the elected members. It is also charged with establishing general policies . . engaging and accessible communication.that is. The Executive The CI Executive is a smaller body of eight members. ignores or abuses the principles of consumer protection. CI specifically separates the strategy-setting role of the Council from programme management and implementation. There are no limitations on re-election/re-appointment. who must meet at least twice a year and have decision-making roles delegated by the full Council. highlight marketplace abuses and raise grass roots support. Council members are not expected to participate in the day-to-day management of CI. and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). However. • CI is committed to acting as a global watchdog: campaigning against any behavior that threatens.

Campaign effectively on key issues that matter to the world’s consumers and where CI can be the lead voice. The UN General Principles set out the legitimate needs of consumers as follows: • • • • • • The protection of consumers from hazards to their health and safety The promotion and protection of the economic interests of consumers Consumer access to adequate information to enable making informed choices according to individual wishes and needs Consumer education. Be a strong. Act as a global watchdog on the behavior of international corporations. including education on the environmental. 4.CI’s strategic objectives for 2007–2011 1. After extensive work from CI. the guidelines were formally expanded in 1999 with Section G on sustainable consumption. and were re-adopted in the UN General Assembly decision 54/449. 3. sustainable. global umbrella organization fit for CI’s Goals. United Nations Guidelines for Consumer Protection 2010 marks the 25th year of the adoption of the UN Guidelines for Consumer Protection. Build strong consumer organizations around the world that can campaign effectively for consumers nationally and through CI globally. When governments are reluctant to allow such rights they can be reminded of their obligations as UN members. They provide a vital context and indeed legitimacy for CI's work. social and economic impacts of consumer choice The availability of effective consumer redress Freedom to form consumer and other relevant groups or organizations and the opportunity for such organizations to present their views in decision-making processes affecting them The promotion of sustainable consumption patterns (added in 1999) • . 2. The draft UN guidelines were discussed at great length from the 1960s onwards before finally being adopted in 1985.

As a result of this judgment. It exempts only those hospitals and the medical / dental practitioners of such hospitals which offer free service to all patients.Landmark Case The NCDRC’s order did not accept the claim of medical professionals who argued that the doctor-patient relationship is similar to master – servant relationship. and done. 1986 and also. virtually all private and government hospitals and the doctors employed by them and the independent medical / dental practitioners except primary health centers. However. a complaint filed in the Consumer Forum / Commission shall be adjudicated. which is a contract of personal service that should be exempted from CPA. cannot be excluded from CPA. 1987. within a period of 90 days from the date of notice by opposite party and within 150 days if it requires analysis or testing of commodities. Medical / dental practitioners and hospitals paid by an insurance firm for the treatment of a client or an employment for that of an employee. and when. It is also said that the doctor is an independent contractor and the doctor. The ‘how’ is left up to the specific discretion of the independent contractor (doctor). the doctor-patient relationship is a contract for personal service and as such. But the NCDRC’s order decreed that the doctor – patient relationship is a contract for personal service and it is not master – servant relationship. All medical / dental practitioners doing independent medical / dental practice unless rendering only free service. There is no court fees to be paid to file a complaint in a Consumer Forum / Commission. Private hospitals charging all patients. the complainant can be asked to approach the civil courts. medical profession has been brought under the Section 2(1) (o) of CPA.P. it has included the following categories of doctors/hospitals under this Section: 1. like the servant. Highlights of the Supreme Court of India judgment in Indian Medical Association Vs V. Further. Further. this judgment says that the deficiency in service means only negligence in a medical negligence case and it would be determined under CPA by applying the same test as is applied in an action for damages for negligence in a civil court. a complainant/opposite party can present his case on his own without the help of a lawyer. Shantha and Others As a result of this judgment. As per the Consumer Protection Rules. Also. 3. is hired to perform a specific task. anti malaria drive and other such welfare activities can be sued under the CPA. 4. The maximum time limit for a claim to be filed under CPA is 2 years from the date of occurrence of the cause of action. this judgment concedes that the summary procedure prescribed by the CPA would suit only glaring cases of negligence and in complaints involving complicated issues requiring recording of the evidence of experts. So. . All hospitals having free as well as paying patients and all the paying and free category patients receiving treatment in such hospitals. birth control measures. 2. the master or principal (the hirer) is allowed to direct only what is to be done.

Sections of Indian Penal Code. Empowers the State Medical Councils to punish persons who falsely claim to be registered or misuse titles and when medicine is practiced by unregistered persons. • • State Medical Councils are empowered to take disciplinary action when prescribed standards of professionals conduct and etiquette or Code of Ethics are not observed by the doctors and violations of which constitute professional misconduct / Infamous conduct. 5. 1. • • • Improper or indecent conduct towards the patient Conviction in a Court of Law Failure or dereliction of duty in giving professional certificates. . reports and other documents • Contravening the Drugs and Cosmetics Act. a doctor can betemporarily or permanently debarredfrom practicing medicine.THE LEGAL AVENUES (other than CPA) AVAILABLE TO AGGRIEVED PATIENTS TO SUE AGAINST HEALTH PROFESSIONALS. which consists of the entries of all the State Registers of medical practitioners. • Failure to give professional service for certain things on religious grounds. Authorizes the MCI to prescribe standards of professional conduct and etiquette or Code of Ethics for medical practitioners. 3. Under the following circumstances. Medical Council of India and Dental Council of India. The violations of these standards constituteinfamous conduct (professional misconduct). MRTP (Monopolies and Restrictive Trade Practices Commission) 4. 1860 Regulation of The Practice of Medicine Indian Medical Council Act.1956 • • • Regulates the profession of Allopathic medicine by constituting Medical Council of India (MCI) and the State Medical Councils. Authorized the MCI to maintain a register of medical practitioners to be known as the Indian Medical register. 2. 1940 • Selling scheduled poison • Performing or abetting an illegal operation • Receiving or giving commission or using touts • Employing unqualified persons • Associations with (drug) manufacturing firms • Advertisements • Running shops (dispensing chemists) etc. with fine or imprisonment or both. Civil Courts. Public Interest Litigation. Authorizes the Medical Council of India (MCI) to recognize the medical qualifications granted by any Authority or Institution of India or other countries.

Public Interest Litigation (PIL) An aggrieved patient can directly approach the High Court or the Supreme Court when his/her grievances was not properly redressed. an aggrieved patient have to wait for years and spend considerable amount of money on litigations. which involves an abuse of professional position that might reasonably by regarded as disgraceful or dishonourable by professional men of good repute and competence. Some of the landmark judgements on Supreme Court on health are the result of PILs. But to avail it. 1986. The Indian Medical Council Act. the doctor is either given a warning notice or temporarily or permanently debars him for practicing medicine. The Council initiates proper hearing where the concerned doctor is given adequate opportunities to represent his side. Monopolies and Restrictive Trade Practices Act (MRTP). The legal remedies are based on the law of Torts. The civil court cases take care the route of Sub-Court. not many cases have reached the apex court of law in the past. P. District Court. Indian Penal Code and Medical Negligence . If it arrives at the conclusion that the doctor has indeed committed an act. 1969 This Act is the precursor of CPA. High Court and Supreme Court. this Act was the only resource to consumers against the unfair trade practices. due to near acceptance of medical negligence as inevitable by the patients and their relatives or local settlements.C. The Council does not have any statutory powers to award any compensation to the aggrieved patient or legal heirs. Before the advent of CPA. Rights and Privileges of Registered Medical Practitioners Conferred by the Indian Medical Council Act. descriptions of the academic qualifications to the name • Right to practice medicine • Right to dispense medicines • Right to possess and supply dangerous drugs to the patients • Right to recovery of fees • Right for appointment to public and local hospitals • Right to issue medical certificates • Right to give evidence as an expert in a Court of Law The aggrieved patients can file a case against the doctor for monetary compensation for which the patient to pay court fees that depends upon the compensation sought. 1956.An aggrieved patient can complain to the State Councils about a registered medical practitioner about an alleged wrong committed by him. Probably.. The commission that looks into the disputes brought under MRTP Act based in New Delhi. 185536and the Section 357 of Cr. • Right to choose a patient • Right to add title. 1956 also provides certain privileges to all the registered medical practitioners. Section 1-A of the Fatal Accidents Act. PILs are usually resorted when public health programmes are not implemented properly. 197337.

A physician can be charged with criminal negligence when a patient dies from the effects of anesthesia during.Indian Penal Code. 81. the deceased was already . 3. or to be able to guarantee cures. A doctor charged under this section can obtain bail and if proved guilty. the facts must be such that.. an operation or other kind of treatment. and does not expect him to bring the highest possible degree of skill in the treatment of his patients. Dr. 2. or wanton indifferences to the patient's safety." (Hampton v State. 337 and 338 contain the law of medical malpraxis in India. Related Cases • The complainant alleged that her husband died due to the complications arising after kidney biopsy. Before the administration of anaesthesia or performance of an operation. if it can be proved that the death was the result if malicious intention. the doctor is charged under the Indian Penal Code Section 337 and 338. Causing the internal ruptures in performing the operations of 'version'.. which may arise from gross ignorance of the science of medicine and surgery or through gross negligence. the physician should be able to prove that he used reasonable and ordinary care in the treatment of his patient to the best of his judgment. "Gross Lack of competency or gross inattention. Delay in sending the patient to the infirmary. under this Indian Penal Code Section 304-A the doctor can be arrested. The State Commission held that the complainant had suppressed the crucial facts in her complaint. not liable for an error judgment.. the medical man is expected to follow the accepted precautions. Besides serious life threatening diseases. however. The law expects a duly qualified physician to use that degree of skill and care which an average man of his qualifications ought to have. 91. . It requires that any of the following to be established in a case of criminal medical negligence. it is incapable of a precise definition." When a FIR (First Information Report) is filed against a doctor for the death of a patient who was under his treatment. Removing part of the uterus along with the placenta. In such cases. 88. To prove whether or not it exists is like chasing a mirage. the negligence of the accused went beyond a mere matter of compensation between subjects and should such disregard for the life and safety of others as to amount to a crime against the state and conduct punishment. State v Lester) In R. or gross negligence. But. It has long been recognized that criminal liability of a physician may result from a high degree of negligent conduct. 83. Bateman was prosecuted for manslaughter and the charges of negligence made against him were: 1. 80. either in the application and selection of remedies. 1860 sections 52. if the patient is alive. The trial court convicted him. 92 304-A. 90. He is. in order to establish criminal liability. the doctor can be punished with a maximum of two years imprisonment or fine or both. What the law calls criminal negligence is largely a matter of degree. lack of proper skill in the use of instruments and failure to give proper attention to the patient. The Indian Courts have been very careful not to hold qualified physicians criminally (instances of quacks for criminal negligence are there) liable for patients' deaths that are the result of a mere mistake of judgment in the selection and application of remedies and when the death resulted merely from an error of judgment or an inadvertent death. But the Court of Appeal held: " . v Bateman (1925).

These are very serious diseases with a very high mortality rate especially when the heart. He ultimately had to be operated at a Urological Hospital for relief and heavy amount had to be spent due to negligent performance of his first operation. 1. First operation was on account of multiple gallstones whereas the second operation became operation became necessary. Complaint dismissed with Rs.000/.C. it is not proved that the second operation became necessary on account of negligence in the performance of the first operation. CHRISTIAN MEDICAL COLLEGE (Punjab SCDRC O. 1.with Rs. Investigations reveled that he was a diabetic and had right hydronephrosis with obstruction at right uretrovesical junction.as costs to be paid by the opposite party within 30 days from the receipt of this letter. the complainant had not come with clean hands and thus disentitled herself to relief under this jurisdiction of the C.P. There is also some force in the opponent’s submissions that if the complainant was suffering from intense pain as alleged by him. 1994 (2) CPR 691. The complainant got discharged against medical advice. the complainant developed high fever and further investigations showed that a stapler pin was seen in the gastrointestinal tract.6. There is absolutely no evidence to establish that there was any negligence on the art of the opponent in performing the operation on July 30. which resulted in gangrene of the right leg. There is no certificate of the doctor of the urological hospital at Nadiad wherein it is alleged to have been stated that the second operation became necessary on account of the first operation on record. JAYANTILAL GOVINDALAL PARMAR v. which would support the allegations made by the complainant. SHIVAJI GENDEO CHAVAN v. we cannot hold the opponent who has stated that he had performed the operation on the complainant carefully and that the complainant had not complained of pain when he was discharged from the hospital and thereafter. But due to lack of proper care like frequent dressing and medical attention.000/. The complainant underwent surgery by retroperitoneal approach. The . CHIEF DIRECTOR. There is nothing in the documentary evidence placed on record. WANLESS HOSPITAL & Anr. The opposite did not appear in the State Commission. No. In order to save the life of the patient. 1995 (1) CPJ 365.V. The case was decided in favour of the complainant on the basis of the affidavits filed by the complainant and another experienced doctor who testified in favour of the complainant.1992 and that it was a result of such negligence that second operation became necessary. Fistula.as costs (SUBH LATA v.1994. In other words. (Maharashtra SCDRC Complaint No. In the absence of any expert evidence. He was admitted in the hospital and dialysis was done for which a venous catheter was introduced in the right thigh and kept in situ (same position of the body) as he would require frequent dialysis. The affected portion of the ureter was removed and uretric reimplantation was done. lung and brain get infected. Connection between the two operations has not been established.12. During the postoperative period. Act. this site developed pus formation leading to A. 1995 CCJ 512 • The complainant’s 18-year-old son was suffering from chronic renal failure and was advised renal transplantation. (1997 (1) CPJ 295:1997 (2) CPR 9 (Gujarat SCDRC) • The complainant was admitted in a private hospital for pain in the neck on the right shoulder. Rajguru. The State Commission observed as under and the complaint was dismissed. A compensation of Rs. Hence. First operation was on account of small strictures near bulbous urethra. 451 of 1993 3. The complaint dismissed without costs.suffering from tuberculosis and staphylococcus aureus septicaemia (a serious infection of the blood by bacteria). MANAGING TRUSTEE & Ors. failing which the amount shall carry interest at the rate of 18% per annum till realization. amputation of the leg was necessary. The patient died after 20 days.1994 (3) CPJ 43) • The complainant was operated for gallstones but subsequently he developed structure near the bulbous urethra due to which he could enjoy sex and could not pass urine easily.00. he would not have waited for seven months to consult Dr.500/. 2. 14 of 1994 decided on 15.

The stapler pin seen in the x-ray is not a stapler pin. 8/94 Decided on 05. Evidently. this stapler pin should have been swallowed. The State Commission held that there is no negligence or deficiency of service on the part of the hospital and dismissed the complaint without costs. LAWRENCE v.J. The surgeon stated that the surgical staplers are V or U shaped and used in clusters in surgeries involving large intestine. No.P. APOLLO HOSPITALS (Tamilnadu SCDRC O. C.allegation was that the pin was left there during the operation.08. .1998). It resembles the stapler pins used un food pockets.

Implementation of the Act reveals that interests of consumers are better protected than ever before. . airlines. water supply. consumer awareness through consumer education and actions by the government. telecommunication. adulteration. Procedural simplicity and speedy and inexpensive redressal of consumer grievances as contained in the CPA are really unique and have few parallels in the world. the government has attempted to safeguard consumer's interests through legislations and the CPA 1986 is considered as the most progressive statute for consumer protection. From time to time. and associations are needed the most to make consumer protection movement a success in the country. consumers are a vulnerable lot for exploitation. India too is no exception to it.Conclusion Invariably. However. black marketing. profiteering. etc are not uncommon here. Instances like overcharging. consumer activists. lack of proper services in trains. more so in a developing country with the prevalence of mass poverty and illiteracy.

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