The National Consumer Day is observed every year on 24th of December with the sole objective to disseminate knowledge and information about the consumers rights, protection and enforcement thereof. It is a milestone in the consumer movement in the country. The theme of this year is sustainable consumer. The consumer has to enjoy his rights in judicious manner and use the resources of nature in a judicious manner, not at the cast of environment.
Consumer is a comprehensive term. It encompasses every person irrespective of status and income in the society. The state is bound to protect the interests of all consumers in all situations, thus the CCPA must be in consistent with the spirit of constitutional values.
The protection of consumer rights derives its authority from the constitution; the objective is to ensure justice – social, economic and political. The constitutional provisions on fundamental rights and directive principles envisage the protections of consumer rights. The present legislation CCPA – Central Consumer Protection Act – covers all the aspects connected with protection of consumers rights. But despite much safeguards available to the consumer under the Act, the consumer is being exploited. This needs to be looked into.
The expeditious redressal of grievances of consumers shows the degree of development of a country. If there is fair play, transparency, and accountability, the consumer rights get substantial compliance.
We know that the consumer in present day of information and technology is beset with a number of issues and concerns, as the services and products are available in abundance. The globalisation has brought new dimensions to the rights of consumers. The services and products made available to the consumers in this global competitive market must adhere to the standards prescribed under new Consumer Protection Act 2019. The rights have to be addressed in a meaningful manner without long technical procedure. The government of India brought CPA 2019 with the sole purpose of addressing the grievances in an expeditious manner. It repealed three decades old consumer protection act 1986. In J&K we had Consumer Protection Act 1987.
CCPA 2019, the new consumer act has expanded the jurisdiction of forums, commissions, state commissions and also added the online mode for lodging complaints; besides strict punishment for misleading advertisements and heavy fines for adulteration in food. The government has constituted consumer councils to monitor the functioning of the district, state and national commissions. The councils are advisory bodies to ensure checks and balances. The new Act added mediation for the settlement of consumer disputes. The object of all this is to ensure the protection of the rights of consumers.
The consumer movement in Jammu and Kashmir has not achieved its target of dissemination information about consumer rights because of a number of factors. These can range form lack of coordination and cooperation among the potential consumers, and the consumer associations. We are far behind in realising the aims and objectives of consumer oriented legislations.
The protection of the consumer rights is of paramount importance to any society. This is to ensure quality life with honour and dignity.