According to a Central Government notification, on July 20, 2020, certain provisions under the Consumer Protection Act, 2019, shall come into force.
These provisions have been initiated to address concerns related to Consumer Protection Councils, Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum, Negotiation, Product Liability, punishment for manufacturing, selling and distribution of spurious products that are adulterated.
No decisions have been taken regarding e-commerce or those that come under the ambit of the constitution of an apex Central Consumer Protection Authority at the national level. It is a welcome step, said Rohit Gupta, chairman, Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI). He stated that "Our efforts, as the advertising self-regulatory body, are also to protect the consumers' interest."
He further added that control over misleading advertisement is something that this move will have an impact on. He said that advertisements are overly misleading when it comes to education as well as healthcare products and services sector and Teleshopping genre and this needs to be checked.
The ASCI claims that very soon it will tighten noose over potentially misleading advertisements appearing on digital media. Print and television surveillance is also on the cards.
"We see our role to be complementary and promoting responsible advertising by providing guidance to marketers and celebrities via Code for Self Regulation in Advertising and Guidelines thereof," Gupta elaborated.
What is the Act all about and how can it help you?
The Parliament in 2019 had replaced a 30-year-old Act when it passed the Consumer Protection Bill, which replaced the Consumer Protection Act, 1986. This means that consumers might see an effective and timely settlement of their disputes through the Central Consumer Protection Council.
Intervention as an alternate dispute settlement mechanism to resolve the disputes faster will be provided by the Act. The concept of 'product liability' is also incorporated by the Act. The action might be initiated against any manufacturer or seller in case any harm is caused to a complainant on account of a defective product.
This means that the consumers will no longer be shown advertisements that give them a wrong image or an idea about various products. This also means that consumers can take a sigh of relief as there will be someone watching over companies that sell and distribute spurious products. Consumers can also look forward to the timely settlement of consumers' disputes and complaints.