Department of Consumer Affairs, Govt. of India has proposed amendments to the existing Consumer Protection Act, 1986. Following are the important proposed amendments that would benefit the Complainants.
1. It is proposed to introduce a new sub-clause (va) in 2(1)(c). The provision is intended to protect the consumers who are placed in an unequal bargaining capacity. Hence ‘unfair contract’ is being added in the list of grounds on which a consumer can file a complaint.
2. A new clause to allow on-line filing of cases as well as make it mandatory for the consumer fora to publish the data regarding filing, disposal of complaints etc. on their respective website, it is necessary to define ‘ electronic mode’
3. Since the bill/ cash memo being an important instrument in the hands of a consumer to prove that he is a bonafide consumer, it is felt necessary to specify refusal of a bill as an unfair trade practice to protect the consumers. A clause to this effect is proposed to be inserted.
4. A new provision enabling the consumer to file the complaint against those sellers who sell their products and telemarketing , etc. who do not take back the goods or services if found defective by the consumers on its receipt in as much as the products and services are not seen / inspected or examined by them and simply purchased through advertisements.
It would be treated an unfair trade practice if, after selling such goods and rendering of such services, sellers refuses to take back or withdraw the goods or withdraw or discontinue the service and refuses to refund the consideration thereof , if paid, within a period of thirty days after the receipt of goods or availing of services it is so requested by the consumer
5. A clause has been added to allow complainant to file a complaint in District Forum and State Forum where he resides or works.
6. The District Forum shall not allow the engagement of an advocate by either party to the complaint, unless the value of the goods and services & compensation claimed, if any, exceeds Rs. 5 lakh, provided, that the complainant may engage an expert if the complaint requires technical expertise.
No advocates will appear before the State Forum for any parties unless the billed value of goods/r services claimed in a complaint is fifty lakhs or above.
No advocates shall appear for any parties before the National Forum unless the claim is above rupees one crore and fifty lakhs.
7. The District Forum and the State Forum shall have the power to review any orders made by it when there is any error apparent on the face of record.
8. Where a complaint instituted before the District Forum, the State Forum or the National Forum as the case may be, is found to be frivolous or vexatious, it shall, for reasons to be recorded in writing, dismiss the complaint and make an order that the complainant shall pay to the opposite party such cost, not exceeding fifty thousand rupees, as may be specified in the order.