Consumer Awareness: Consumer Redressal System in India: Government Legislations (For CBSE, ICSE, IAS, NET, NRA 2022)

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Consumer Redressal System in India

Consumer redressal system is a system under which the consumers can file a complaint in a consumer court and demand justice when they are cheated by the sellers or manufacturers of the commodity or service they buy. It comprises of the Laws to protect the interest of the consumers and the Institutions to enforce the laws to uphold consumers՚ rights.

Government Legislations

  • Consumer Protection Act 1986 (CPA) is the most important one and gives you as a consumer all the support and guidance against violation of your rights. CPA is specifically designed to protect consumer interest.
  • There are a couple of other legislations aimed at providing consumer protection, enacted after independence, like Prevention of food adulteration Act (PFA) 1954, the Essential Commodities Act , 1955 (ECA) and the Standard of Weights and Measures Act (SWMA) of 1976. The CPA was enacted with the objective of providing ‘cheap’ , ‘simple’ and ‘quick’ justice to the millions of consumers in the country.

Institutions to Deal with Consumers՚ Grievances

The citizens of India have an Institutional machinery, to deal with consumers՚ grievances, working at all levels: national, state and district.

There are two types of institutions:

  • Government Councils and
  • Consumer Courts.

Besides this there are also several Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) registered under the government law which provide various kinds of support to the aggrieved consumers.

Government Councils

Read the following flow chart to know the government councils working at national and state levels.

Government Councils

As shown in the chart there is a Central Consumer Protection Council (CCPC) at the National Level which is headed by a Central Minister in-charge of the Consumer Affairs in the Central Government at New Delhi. At the State Level there is a State Consumer Protection Council (SCPC) in each state of India which is headed by a State Ministering- charge of the Consumer Affairs in the State Government.

Consumer Courts

Read the following flow chart to know the types of Consumer Courts working at national and state and district levels.

Consumer Courts
  • As given in the chart, there are three layers of Consumer Courts in India. At the bottom is the District Consumer Forum (DCF) at the district level in the state. There are 604
  • District Forums in the country now. At the mid-level there is State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (SCDRC) .
  • There are 35 State Commissions in the country. Finally, at the top there is an apex body known as National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC) working hand-in-hand to provide cheap, speedy and simple redressal to consumer disputes in the country.
  • Redressal Mechanism: he Consumer Dispute Redressal Forum is a three-tier system. The tier redressal system of consumer protection comprising of National Consumer Redressal Forum (NCRF) , State commission and District forums. The jurisdiction of each consumer forum has been given in The Consumer Protection Act, 1986. An appeal from the decision of the district forum can be made to the state commission and an appeal against the order of the state commission can be made to the National Forum. There are timelines given for the appeal as there is in cases of any other nature.
  • Role of NGOs: In case the producer/company/seller gives the aggrieved party a cold shoulder then the role of non- governmental organisations i.e.. NGOs becomes very important. One can lodge complaints with some NGO՚s like Consumer Grievance Consumer Guidance Society of India, Common Cause and Consumer Forum. NGOs not only help in filing a case but also, they provide logistic, manpower and other supports. NGOs also conduct various programmes to educate consumers about their rights and responsibilities.
  • The Grounds for Filing a Complaint: The deficiency in a service is one of the grounds for filing a complaint under the Act. The terms deficiency has been defined as any fault, imperfection, short coming or inadequacy in the quality, nature and manner of performance which is required to be maintained by or has been under taken to be performed by a person in pursuance of a contract or otherwise in relation to any service. Compensation has to be paid by the wrong doer for their faulty or defective goods and services.

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