NATIONAL COMMISSION UNDER THE CONSUMER PROTECTION ACT – COMPOSITION AND POWERS
The process of defending consumers against unethical business activities is known as consumer protection. It describes the measures taken to safeguard customers from dishonest and unethical business activities by sellers, manufacturers, service providers, etc. and to offer remedies in the event that their legal rights as consumers have been breached.
The Consumer Protection Act of 2019 governs the administration of consumer rights protection in India. To replace the Consumer Protection Act of 1986, the Consumer Protection Act of 2019 was proposed. The new Act includes a number of provisions that take into account the difficulties faced by contemporary, technologically dependent customers. The Act also includes a number of clauses aimed at advancing and defending consumer rights.
OBJECTIVE OF THE CONSUMER PROTECTION ACT, 2019
The Act’s primary goals are to safeguard consumer interests and create a reliable, effective procedure for resolving consumer complaints. The Act intends to: Prevent the marketing of goods that endanger property and human life.
To protect consumers from unfair business practices, provide information about the potency, amount, standard, purity, and pricing of the items.
Create Consumer Protection Councils to safeguard customers’ rights and interests.
Whenever feasible, guarantee that customers may access a trusted source for affordable goods.
Investigate and seek remedies for any unethical business activities or consumer exploitation.
ESTABLISHMENT OF NATIONAL CONSUMER DISPUTES REDRESSAL COMMISSION
- A National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission, to be known as the National Commission, shall be established by notification of the Central Government in accordance with Section 53 of the Consumer Protection Act.
- The National Commission will typically be located in the National Capital Region and will also carry out its duties at any additional locations that the Central Government may designate after consulting with the National Commission and publishing a notice in the Official Gazette
COMPOSITION OF NATIONAL CONSUMER DISPUTES REDRESSAL COMMISSION
The forum must include the following, in accordance with Section 54 of the Consumer Protection Act:
- a president chosen by the national government who is currently serving or has previously served on the Supreme Court; these selections must, by law, be made after consulting the Chief Justice of India.
- The remaining four members, one of whom must be a woman, are all capable, upright, and knowledgeable people who have dealt with issues including business, law, public affairs, administration, and other relevant topics.
QUALIFICATIONS OF PRESIDENT AND MEMBERS OF THE NATIONAL COMMISSION
(1) The Central Government may, by notification, make regulations to specify the qualifications, appointment, term of office, salaries and allowances, resignation, removal, and other terms and conditions of service for the President and members of the National Commission, as per section 55 of the Act.
As long as they are eligible, the President and members of the National Commission shall hold office for terms set forth in rules adopted by the Central Government, which shall not exceed five years from the day on which he assumes office:
Furthermore, no President or Member of the House shall hold such office after reaching the age set in the rules made by the Central Government, which shall not be greater than—
(a) in the case of the President, the age of seventy years;
(b) in the case of any other member, the age of sixty-seven years.
(2) Neither the salary and allowances nor the other terms and conditions of service of President and members of the National Commission shall be varied to his disadvantage after his appointment.
JURISDICTION OF NATIONAL COMMISSION
Section 58 of the Act states that:
(1) Subject to the other provisions of this Act, the National Commission shall have jurisdiction—
(a) to entertain—
complaints involving payments for products or services valued at more than ten crore rupees; nevertheless, the Central Government may prescribe an alternative value if it deems it appropriate to do so;
(i) appeals against any State Commission’s decisions;
(ii) complaints against unfair contracts if the value of the goods or services received in exchange for the contract exceeds ten crore rupees;
(iii) appeals against the Central Authority’s directives;
(b) if it appears to the National Commission that such State Commission has exercised a jurisdiction not granted to it by law, or has failed to exercise a jurisdiction so granted, or has acted in the exercise of its jurisdiction illegally or with material irregularity, to call for the records and pass appropriate orders in any consumer dispute that is before or has been decided by any State Commission.
(2) The National Commission’s jurisdiction, powers, and authority may be exercised by its benches, and a bench may be established by the President with one or more members as he may judge appropriate:
With the proviso that the Bench’s senior member serves as chair.
(3) When members of a Bench disagree on a matter, the matter shall be decided in accordance with the opinion of the majority, if there is one. If the members are equally divided, however, they shall state the issue or issues on which they disagree and refer the matter to the President, who shall either hear the issue or issues himself or refer the matter for hearing on such issue or issues by one or more of the other members and such point or points shall be decided according to the opinion of the majority of the members who have heard the case, including those who first heard it:
Provided that the President or the other member, as the case may be, shall give opinion on the point or points so referred within a period of two months from the date of such reference.
The 2019 Consumer Protection Act safeguards the interests of consumers. This law was essential in resolving several unresolved consumer complaints that were being heard in consumer courts around the nation. It has methods and tools for quickly resolving customer complaints.
The National Commission has also been given administrative authority over all the State Commissions in order to assist in achieving the goals of the Consumer Protection Act. This is done by requesting regular reports on the institution, disposition, and status of cases. The National Commission has the authority to issue directives regarding the following: (1) adoption of a uniform procedure in the hearing of matters; (2) prior service of copies of documents produced by one party to the opposing parties; (3) speedy grant of copies of documents; and (4) generally overseeing the operation of the State Commissions and the District Forums to ensure that the purposes and objectives of the Act are best served, without interfering with their quasi-judicial functions.
Author: Anshika Jain,
Amity University, Madhya Pradesh, B.A. LL.B (Hons.), 3rd year