HISTORY OF CONSUMER LAWS AND THEIR EFFECTS IN INDIA

Introduction

Although we now and again regret that many cherished matters–particularly people and human members of the family–are dealt with as simply any other consumer thing; even though we are regularly cognizant of the hazard that the sum impact of our modestly enjoyed consumer habits may also have on the environment and the operating situations of humans living on the other aspect of the arena, we seem to have made peace with truth and aren’t ashamed of describing our society as a consumers’ society. “Consumer by definition includes everyone,” says John F. Kennedy. In simple words, it refers to anyone who makes a purchase.  Consumers have positive legal rights, together with the right to Information, the right to protection, the right of assurance, the right to be heard, the right to seek remedy, and the proper consumer awareness. The old testimony and the Code of Hammurabi both reference consumer safety, however typically from a mercantile viewpoint. Within the United States of America, an early sort of consumer safety motion arose, laying the basis for the emergence and improvement of monopoly and oligopolistic capitalism. Each nation has established legislative strategies in location to codify positive guidelines and merits about intake. Therefore, the rights of people at each end of the consumption technique are included. In layman’s phrases, a ‘marketplace region’ is an area or platform in which transactions between these two parties take area. goods and services are exchanged in change for an economic price. No matter the truth that both are similarly capable of harming others, most people about the discussion within the given sections are based on laws and rules which have been mainly enacted and codified to protect the customer who pays a positive sum of money within the desires that the commodity he’s shopping will meet his needs.

History of Evolution

The concept of consumer protection is not of recent; alternatively, it is a training that has been present in diverse bureaucracy at some stage in records in several societies and countries. In the USA, wherein the principles for the emergence and augmentation of monopoly and oligopolistic capitalism had been in place, an early type of consumer defence motion arose. The earliest consumer organizations had been based in Denmark (1947) and the UK (1955), whilst the authorities installed the consumer Council to provide consumers a say on topics that had been previously restrained to producers and traders. The single European Act, but, became the main normative leap forward; it amended the Treaty of Rome with the aid of reasserting the task and responsibility of the economic and Social Committee, which became given competency to protect purchasers. The above-referred legislation and laws have gone through many extensive revisions all through the years, facilitating the manner for wider customer coverage.

After the advent of Britishers’ management in India came a bundle of English legal guidelines aiming toward protecting the interests of general public. The laws didn’t mainly incorporate consumers; however, they did hold their interests not directly in practice. Notwithstanding those legislations, the Privy Council’s choices had been however guided by using commonplace regulation principles. To put it another manner, the thoughts of common law surmounted the rules of Britisher Empire in India. curiously, notwithstanding the presence of those laws in society, there has been no perceptible trade inside the economic and social repute of Indian buyers, who endured to go through because of unfair trade practices by way of foreigners and other marketplace malpractices. Following independence, India has come to be more aware of the significance of customer pursuits in a democracy. The democracy can’t survive if its residents are not satisfied or agree that the cost of the goods and offerings, they may be acquiring is inadequate, or if they are harmed due to transgressions by society. The Prevention of Food Adulteration Act,1954[1] was enacted to lower the adverse effects of adulteration of numerous dangerous and toxic substances in commodities. Even though the IPC[2] had described “Adulteration of drugs”[3], “Sale of Adulterated drugs”[4], and “Sale of Drug as a unique Drug or Prescription”[5] as crimes with consequences, the Prevention of Food Adulteration Act assisted in addition bolstering the position.

The Consumer Protection Act, 1986[6]

The consumer protection Act, 1986 was enacted in India to impart more potent safety to customers against marketplace pursuits that are dangerous to them. The act efficaciously addressed consumer troubles and made no expressed provisions for “maintaining or increasing elements of any vital commodity or ensuring their equitable distribution and availability at fair charges, or dealing with persons indulging in hoarding and black-marketing of important commodities and profiteering in vital commodities, or managing the evil of vicious inflationary expenses.” The Act is taken into consideration as a try and alleviate customers’ powerlessness within the face of powerful and dominant entities consisting of traders and businessmen, who are sometimes referred to as a “community of racketeers.” The act’s goal was to provide consumers a simple, quick, and inexpensive redress. However, a change or shift in the consumer’s thinking, technological advancements, and Consumer Court delays have hampered the intended effect or purpose of the act. This prompted the government to enforce regulations that could effectively prevent consumer fraud and make essential adjustments to the Act’s numerous parts to establish a more successful and robust structure that could provide consumers with justice and value their rights. When looking at the current scenarios, it was clear that something needed to alter. As a result, the Indian Parliament enacted the consumer protection bill[7], 2019. The old consumer protection Act of 1986 has been changed through this new act.

The Consumer Protection Act, 2019[8]

The altered consumer Protection Act essentially supersedes the nearly 30 years old Act, striving to keep to the wishes of a digitized-contemporary-consumer. The proposed act, which could take the place of the consumer protection Act of 1986, is a brand-new consumer protection statute with numerous amendments, inclusive of the removal of section 107. This new regulation gives a statute of measures and strengthens existing guidelines to guard consumer rights even greater. In the fast-converting new-age economy, it attempts to deal with client vulnerabilities to new varieties of unfair exchange practices and unethical organization activities.

Conclusion

Consumer protection has long been a top priority. Effective procedures were put in place in ancient India to protect customers from market crimes. Ancient law providers were adept at describing numerous types of unfair trade practices and prescribing harsh penalties for wrongdoers. Adulteration and falsified weights and measures have been in most cases prosecuted. The king became the ultimate authority in historical India when it came to administering justice, however, his power turned limited using the Dharma principles. A few Muslim monarchs constructed well-prepared marketplace procedures to monitor pricing and the delivery of goods to markets during the medieval period. The modern-day legal system was added to India at some point in the British period, and diverse laws had been enacted to protect the pursuits of consumers. The consumer protection Act of 2019, on the other hand, has ushered in a legal revolution in India as a result of its cost-effective processes and substantial guide. At the same time, these processes constitute an enormous legal challenge to conventional courts that observe strict procedural policies. In this age of consumers, Indian customer law will truly manage Indian markets and bring in a new era for India’s present legal framework, that’s constructed on robust ancient legal foundations.

Author(s) Name: Preeti (National Law University, Delhi)

References:

[1] Act no. 37, 1984

[2] The Indian Penal Code, 1860

[3] S-273, Indian Penal Code, 1860

[4] S-274, Indian Penal Code, 1860

[5] S-275, Indian Penal Code, 1860

[6] Act no. 68, 1986

[7] Bill no. 144, 2019

[8] Act no. 35, 2019