Consumer Affairs and Consumer Protection Councils
The main purpose of the Consumer Protection Act 1986, as the name suggests, is to protect the rights of the consumers. This is elucidated in section 6 of the Act. To achieve this aim, the Act envisages setting up consumer protection councils, as provided in Chapter II of the Act. These councils are meant to be set up at the state and centre levels and will be classified as:
- The Central Consumer Protection Council
- The State Consumer Protection Council
The Central Consumer Protection Council
The Central Government is required to constitute the Central Consumer Protection Council by notification on the date specified in it. The Minister handling consumer affairs in the Central Government will be the chairman of the council. Other members, official or unofficial, who share these interests, can be prescribed.
Procedure for Meetings
One meeting of the Central Council will be held every year. However, if the members feel the need of the meeting, they can call it. The place and time of the meeting will be decided by the Chairman.
Some of the objects of the Central Council are to protect the following rights of the consumers:
- consumer education.
- seek redressal against unfair trade practices.
- marketing of hazardous goods and services.
- access to a variety of goods and services at competitive prices.
- information about quality, quantity and purity of goods or services.
The State Consumer Protection Council
The State Council will be established by the State Government by notification on the date mentioned in it. The Minister who handles consumer affairs in the State Government will be the Chairman of the council. The State Government can prescribe other members, who share these interests, to be appointed at official or unofficial level. The Central Government may also nominate not more than 10 such members.
Procedure for Meetings: At least two meetings of the State Council will take place every year. However, a member of the council may call the meeting whenever they find it necessary. The time and place of the meeting will be decided by the Chairman.
The State Government shall, by notification, create a council for every district on the date mentioned in the notification, as provided in clauses (a) to (f) of section 6. Such a council will be referred to as the District Consumer Protection Council.