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Ensuring Rights Of Consumers Through Consumer Protection Act

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The existing Consumer Protection Act, 1986 provide for the protection of the rights of the consumers. Under the provisions of the said Act, a three-tier quasi-judicial mechanism, called Consumer Fora, has been established at the District, State and National levels to provide simple, inexpensive and speedy redressal to consumer disputes. Besides, the Department of Consumer Affairs runs a National Consumer Helpline to deal with consumer grievances. Also, six zonal consumer helplines at Bengaluru, Ahmedabad, Jaipur, Patna, Kolkata and Guwahati have been set up to attend to the consumer grievances in regional languages.

The implementation and enforcement of Food Safety and Standards (FSS) Act, 2006 primarily rests with State/UT Governments. Regular surveillance, monitoring, inspection and random sampling of food items are being carried out by the State Food Safety Officers who pick up and send the samples to the laboratories for analysis and testing. In cases of non-compliance to the provisions of the Act and the Rules and Regulations made thereunder, the action is initiated against the defaulting food business operators under the penal provisions contained in Chapter IX of FSS Act, 2006 relating to offences and penalties.

No specific complaint of short weighing and measuring is received. However, the action is taken by the Legal Metrology Officers of the State Governments, when they receive a complaint or during inspections, if any short weighing and measuring are observed, as the enforcement of weights and measures laws is done by the State Governments. To strengthen the functioning of the Legal Metrology Department, grants-in-aid are released to State Governments for the construction of laboratory buildings. Further standard types of equipment are provided for verification and stamping of weights & measures used in transaction and protection.

The Central Government through the issuance of various Quality Control Orders has brought 209 products under compulsory BIS Certification and 50 Electronics, IT and Solar products under Compulsory Registration Scheme of BIS. According to these Quality Control Orders, the product specified therein shall conform to relevant Indian Standards and bear Standard Mark under a licence from BIS. It thus ensures the quality of such a product.

Unfair warranties and guaranties come under the broad definition of unfair trade practices. Under the existing Consumer Protection Act, 1986, a consumer can file a complaint in a Consumer Forum of appropriate jurisdiction against unfair trade practices.

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