Govt to present fresh consumer protection Bill

Source: Business Standard, Mar 16, 2017

New Delhi: The consumer affairs ministry has drafted a fresh consumer protection Bill after incorporating suggestions of a parliamentary standing committee and hopes to introduce it in the ongoing session.

In August 2015, the Centre had introduced the Consumer Protection Bill in the Lok Sabha to repeal the 30-year-old Consumer Protection Act. The standing committee had also submitted its recommendations in April.

The ministry has accepted some of the recommendations of the panel and finalised the draft Bill, which has also been vetted by the Group of Ministers, headed by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley.

“The draft Bill was sent to the law ministry. We had proposed 80-odd amendments in it. So, the law ministry suggested us to bring in a new Bill,” Food and Consumer Affairs Minister Ram Vilas Paswan said at the event organised to commemorate the World Consumer Rights Day.The ministry will soon take the Cabinet approval on the fresh draft and hopes to get it passed in the ongoing Parliament session, he said.

The minister said the government has made sweeping changes in the Bill as it now provides huge penalties on celebrities endorsing misleading advertisements.

It also seeks to create a Consumer Protection Authority to fast-track grievance redressal of consumers on the lines of US and European countries. The Bill has a provision for product liability and penalties in certain cases of food poisoning.

Consumer Secretary Hem Pande said the rules and regulations will be notified after its enactment that will adequately address the issues of jurisdiction, scope of liability, executive action against unfair trade practices as well as alternative dispute resolution.

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