ROLE OF CONSUMER PROTECTION ACT, 2019 IN THE GOAL OF ATMANIRBHAR BHARAT
The Covid-19 pandemic has hit the economies around the globe resulting in almost shutting down of the economic activities for few months during the lockdown. It has affected various sectors including the economic sector in which the service sector’s condition was even worse than the manufacturing ones, for eg., tourism, hospitality, education and many other related businesses specially in relation to the small and the medium scale industries. The pandemic has definitely affected the flow of currency in any economy. People are motivated to spend less as possible keeping in mind of the clear-cut requirements related to what is absolutely required expenses and what are not. The government has announced packages in order to bring the flow of the economy in its normal pace but other factors such as unemployment, loss of jobs, no avaibility of source of income has affected the buying capacity of the consumers in India.
India, as a developing country, also decided on and announced various financial courses by RBI, the central bank of India, and monetary package to arose the monetary activity in the country by the Government of India. The stimulus package is called an Atma-nirbhar Bharat package that amounts to 20 billion rupees. The intention of the government is not only to reactivate businesses through this stimulus package but also to entice enterprises to from abroad through aggressive reforms.
Liquidity through Atmanirbhar Bharat Package
India’s prime minister has announced a stimulus package for the economy on 13th May 2020 that was followed by India’s finance minister announcing the details of the package in a phased manner. A few crucial steps are, 3 billion rupees loans to MSMEs and other businesses for working capital requirements, guaranteed loans for stressed MSMEs, 2 billion rupees additional Kisan Credit card schemes for farmers, affordable housing loans for middle-income group, 1.5 billion rupees for creating agriculture and allied sector infrastructure, 0.08 billion for viability gap funding, and 0.4 billion rupees for Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS) for 100 days employment to rural people. The entire package releases liquidity of 1.5% of GDP from the Government of India. However, it stimulates the flow of money in the economy.
Apparently, beside the union, various state governments have also announced some amendments in the in order to make them more favourable for the business organisations. This demands even better measure to protect the consumers in this difficult time for them when the expenses are being scrutinize by the families and peoply are spending more with giving it a second thought. So, on one hand the business wants to earn more profit even during the pandemic, on the other hand consumers requires a better service and commodity at best prices in order to make them self-reliant in this pandemic era too.
Objectives of Atma Nirbar Bharath Abiyan:
The Atma Nirbhar Bharat Abhiyan which was announced by the Honorable Prime Minister Narendra Modi of our nation during this Pandemic Period has two important objectives they are:
• Provide liquidity infusion and direct cash transfer to the economy: As we realize that because of corona pandemic there was an incredible harm to the Indian Economy. This pandemic circumstance worstly affects the all areas of the economy. To bring back the monetary security of the country and to implant the liquidity into the economy, this Atma Nirbhar Bharath Abhiyaan will presented by the Prime pastor of our country.
• To make various sectors of our economy to become globally competitive and attractive:
Because of corona pandemic no area is in a situation to do the business in a worldwide upper hand. All areas of our economy are seriously influenced. To make every one of the areas all around the world cutthroat and alluring there is some sort of help or assistance required for the different area. Atma Nirbar Bharath Abiyan give guide to every one of the areas to turn out to be all around the world serious.
• Schemes of Athma Nirbhar Bharath: India has confronted the COVID-19 circumstance with guts and a spirit of self-reliance, that is, clear in the way that from zero creation of Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) before March 2020, India today has made a limit of delivering 2 lakh PPE units roughly every day, which is likewise developing consistently.Also, India has shown how it ascends to difficulties and uncovers openings in that, as showed in the re-purposing of different car area enterprises to work together in the creation of lifesaving ventilators. The clarion call given by the Hon’ble PM to utilize these difficult occasions to become Atmanirbhar (independent) has been very generally welcomed to empower the resurgence of the Indian economy. Unlock 1 Guidelines have been given to empower resumption of monetary exercises while keeping up with plentiful alert consequently permitting reviewed facilitating of limitations.
Now, to understand the impact of this Atmanirbhar Bharat scheme on the consumers of modern India who are having access to Internet and e-markets 24/7. The consumer of today i.e., of digital age have so many expectations with abundance of choices, various payment methods and one can opt the better suitable to their comfort, improved services and above all the shopping of goods and services at their comfort. But do not let this give a positive impression in one’s mind because with the ease, many challenges have also come to their shopping carts.
In response to the digitalized consumers need and security the Union legislature has introduced The Consumer Protection Act, 2019 in place of the old consumer law of 1986. The new market set-up has witnessed mis-leading advertisements, and a special check was needed on direct selling and multi-level marketing. The new Act is going to benefit the society at large
Major features of changes brought in the new Act of 2019
- Establishment of Central Consumer Protection Authority (Section 10)- Chapter III of the 2019 Act provides with the Central Consumer Protection Authority (CCPA) which has been added in order to regulate, protect, promote and enforce the rights of consumers and regulate cases related to misleading advertisements, unfair trade practices and violation of consumer rights. Moreover, it has been granted extensive powers to take suo-moto actions, order reimbursement of the price of goods/services, recall products, cancel licenses and file class action suits, if a consumer complaint affects more than one individual.
- Minor is also added under the definition of consumer- A provision for a minor being a consumer has been introduced under Section 2(5)(vii) of the Act where the parent or legal guardian can approach the authorities through the minor seeking relief.
- A series of new terminologies- Thereafter, a series of new terminologies have been added to Section 2 of the Act, for example a brand new concept of “product liability” has been included in the new Act which has been defined under Section 2(34) of the Consumer Protection Act, 2019 as “the responsibility of a product manufacturer or product seller, of any product or service, to compensate for any harm caused to a consumer by such defective product manufactured or sold or by deficiency in services relating thereto;” and in lieu of which the concepts of “product liability action”, “product manufacturer” etc. have also been included in the Act.
- E-filing of complaints and expanding territorial jurisdiction of courts- The objection recording has been simplified by permitting buyers to document grumblings at an area or state purchaser commission nearest to their home, instead of the area where the assistance or items were sold. Indeed, even the office of e recording has been given. This demonstration has additionally permitted video or e-conferencing becoming aware of the gatherings, which further protects purchasers from provocation or bother and facilitates the method.
- E-Commerce and false advertisement– The meaning of “customer” under segment 2(7) of the demonstration incorporates the buyers who make buys through web-based business stage unlike the previous Act which did exclude the purchasers who purchase items on the web. There is a different arrangement for support of products and se administrations, which are ordinarily embraced by the famous people are covered under the arrangement of bogus and deceiving promotion. The onus on the famous people is extra to the obligation put on the producers and specialist organizations. Mis-driving notice will likewise mean purposely concealing significant data. CCPA additionally directs bogus and mis-leading advertising.
- The new additions include “e-commerce” Section 2(16), “electronic service provider” Section 2(17) along with the prescribed liabilities in relation to internet frauds. This has broadened the scope of the Act and it looks after the better protection of the rights of e-consumers and also enables them to proceed against e-commerce websites in the event of any infringement or violation.
- Enhancement in Pecuniary Jurisdiction– The National CDRC will hear protests worth more than Rs. 10 crores, contrasted with more than Rs. 1 crore prior. The State CDRC will hear objections when the worth is more than Rs 1 crore however not as much as Rs 10 crore, contrasted with Rs. 20 lakhs upto Rs. 1 crore prior. The District CDRC will engage objections when the worth of merchandise or administration is up to Rs 1 crore, contrasted with upto Rs. 20 lakhs prior. This adjustment of as far as possible was greatly needed similarly as with the progression of time, the hour of worth of cash has expanded and beforehand the cutoff points were considerably less and henceforth, was in a roundabout way expanding the weight on higher courts.
- Offences and Penalties- separate part (Chapter VII) for offenses and punishments has been presented where point by point punishments and disciplines have been referenced comparable to rebelliousness, or assembling available to be purchased or putting away, selling or appropriating or bringing in items that are defiled or deceptive.
- Appeal Procedure– The contrary party needs to store 50% of the sum requested by the locale commission prior to recording an allure before the state commission. Prior, the roof was of Rs25,000 which has been taken out. The limit period for documenting of allure for state commission has been expanded to 45 days from 30 days, while holding ability to excuse the postponement.
- Inserted option for Alternate Dispute Resolution– The Act has presented another part (Chapter V) on intervention as an other debate goal system to determine the purchaser question in a lot quicker way without moving toward the Commissions. In this manner, in the occasions where the intercession is fruitful in entire, the provisions of such arrangement will be decreased into composing appropriately. Where the question is settled uniquely to some degree, the Commission will record the assertion of the issues which have been settled, and will keep on hearing the excess issues associated with the debate. If there should be an occurrence of ineffective intervention the individual Commission will inside seven days of the receipt of the settlement report, pass a reasonable request and discard the matter as needs be. This will assist with decreasing the all around existing weight of cases in the nearby courts and accommodate faster goal of their debate as well.
- Unfair Trade Practices– The New Act expands the meaning of Unfair Trade Practices [Section 2(47)], which incorporates sharing of individual data given by the purchaser in certainty, except if such revelation is made as per the arrangements of some other law. This will assist with guaranteeing information security and their resulting abuse for digital wrongdoings like phishing and cyberstalking.
- The rights of the consumer under Section 2(9), which includes,
a. the right to be secured against the advertising of merchandise, items or administrations which are risky to life and property;
b. the right to be educated about the quality, amount, strength, immaculateness, standard and cost of merchandise, items or administrations, by and large, to secure the shopper against out of line exchange rehearses;
c. the right to be guaranteed, at every possible opportunity, admittance to an assortment of merchandise, items or administrations at cutthroat costs;
d. the right to be heard and to be guaranteed that buyer’s advantages will get due thought at suitable gathering;
e. the right to look for redressal against outlandish exchange practice or prohibitive exchange rehearses or deceitful misuse of purchasers; and
f. the right to customer mindfulness.
Consequently, the New Act of 2019 has presented new phrasings as well as remembered the digitalization and its effect for shoppers for getting the labor and products and furthermore for purchaser redressal the digitalization of business has likewise honey bee taken into point while presenting the new Act of 2019. The main element of the new demonstration is next to thinking about the effect of web and internet business, the privileges of the purchasers have been extended and furthermore expounded momentarily.
Milestone judgment to have a superior agreement offered by the Consumer Protection Act, 1986 and the rules set down in those cases helped in outlining the new Consumer Protection Act, 2019.
Dabur (India) Ltd. v. Colortek (Meghalaya) (P) Ltd.
The Delhi High Court rulled out the standards administering defamation in the commercials and held:
Based on the law set somewhere near the Supreme Court, the core values for us ought to be the accompanying:
(I) A promotion is business discourse and is ensured by Article 19(1)(a) of the Constitution.
(ii) A commercial should not be bogus, deluding, out of line or misleading.
(iii) obviously, there would be some ill defined situations however these need not really be taken as genuine portrayals of truth yet just as celebrating one’s item.
To this degree, as we would like to think, the assurance of Article 19(1)(a) of the Constitution is accessible. In any case, if a notice reaches out past the hazy situations and turns into a bogus, deceiving, out of line or beguiling commercial, it would absolutely not have the advantage of any security.
Pepsi Co. Inc. v. Hindustan Coca Cola Ltd.
In Pepsi Co. it was held that specific elements must be remembered while choosing the subject of stigmatization. Those variables were:
(I) Intent of the business,
(ii) Manner of the business, and
(iii) Story line of the business and the message tried to be passed on.
These variables were intensified or rehashed in the accompanying terms:
“(1) The purpose of the promotion – this can be perceived from its story line and the message looked to be passed on.
(2) The general impact of the ad – does it advance the sponsor’s item or does it belittle or malign an opponent item?
In this setting it should be remembered that while advancing its item, the publicist may, while contrasting it and an adversary or a contending item, make a horrible examination yet that may not really influence the story line and message of the promoted item or have that as its general impact.
(3) The way of promoting – is the examination overall honest or does it erroneously malign or belittle an adversary item? While honest stigmatization is passable, untruthful trashing isn’t admissible.”
Connaught Plaza Restaurants Ltd. v. Kapil Mitra
The complainant/respondent had taken an interest in Mc Donald’s generally distributed plan ‘Mc Donald’s Mein Khao Har Bar Prize Le Jao’ by putting in two separate requests worth Rs 81. It was claimed by the complainant that Connaught Plaza Restaurants Ltd. (CPRL) a franchisee running Mc Donald eateries has enjoyed out of line exchange rehearses by not giving the guaranteed prizes according to the plan, rather put the members under the commitment to make a further acquisition of a base Rs 20 to profit free French Fries. Additionally, the complainant needed to send two SMS giving the coupon numbers, for which Rs 3 for each SMS were charged. In addition, the subtleties of the whole plan with its agreements and the consequence of the victors were likewise disguised from the taking part clients. Consequently, the complainant recorded a buyer objection before the District Forum going to announce the plan as baseless exchange practice and that Connaught Plaza Restaurants Ltd.. be facilitated to reveal the entire arrangement and champs of the prizes. The District Forum allowed the protest and conceded compensation and costs for the complainant of Rs. 10,000 and Rs.2,000.Aggrieved, CPRL recorded an allure before the State Commission, yet the State Commission adjusted the request for the District Forum by upgrading the remuneration and granting correctional harms to the tune of Rs. 2,00,000 and Rs. 10,00,000.
CPRL then, at that point claimed before the NCDRC. The NCDRC held that no verification had been documented by the complainant that CPRL had gathered the SMS charges or that it had a concurrence with the Telecom Company/Service supplier on sharing of SMS charges. In this way, the request for the State Commission couldn’t be supported on those grounds. Then again, it held that it is likewise a fact that the plan was an out of line exchange practice followed by Connaught Plaza Restaurants Ltd. This reality having been set up by the simultaneous discoveries given by the District and the State Commission. The complainant and other comparative clients who might not have approached to document a protest should be conceded help. Halfway permitting the allure, the NCDRC decreased the measure of pay to Rs. 30,000 and expenses for Rs. 70,000 individually.Ernakulam Medical Centre P.R. Jayasree
The National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC) in this recent case observed that,
“Delivering a dead body by a medical clinic to a disconnected third individual obviously establishes ‘inadequacy in assistance’ inside the importance of Section 2(1)(g) and (o) of Consumer Protection Act, 1986.”
As of late, the Supreme Court in a judgment laid accentuation on the job of NCDRC in Union of India N.K. Srivastava, wherein the Court had excused an allure which had stirred from a request for the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission. The grievance claimed clinical carelessness against Sarvodaya Hospital and Safdarjung Hospital. The NCDRC permitted the update of Sarvodaya Hospital. While absolving it of the finding of clinical carelessness, it held Safdarjung Hospital responsible to pay the pay of Rs 2 lakhs forced by the State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission.
The District Forum had excused the purchaser grumbling expressing that there was no lack with respect to Sarvodaya Hospital in alluding the complainant to a particular office. An allure was recorded before the State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission by the first complainant. The SCDRC, by its judgment inferred that Sarvodaya Hospital was liable of clinical carelessness and guided it’s anything but an amount of Rs 2 lakhs as pay and expenses measured at Rs 20,000. Nonetheless, the protest was held not to be viable against Safdarjung Hospital. An amendment was documented against the judgment of the SCDRC by Sarvodaya Hospital before the NCDRC which permitted the modification and arrived at the resolution that Sarvodaya Hospital was not blameworthy of clinical carelessness, nonetheless, the NCDRC explained on the inquiry concerning whether Safdarjung Hospital had been accurately excused. The NCDRC held that however the complainant had not documented a correction against the request for the SCDRC explicitly holding that Safdarjung Hospital was not agreeable to the purview of the shopper fora, he was not blocked from testing a discovering which was antagonistic to him in the modification appeal. On these realities, the NCDRC supported the finding of clinical carelessness against Safdarjung Hospital and guided it to pay remuneration evaluated at Rs 2 lakhs.Horlicks Ltd. v. Zydus Wellness Products Ltd.
The High Court passed a break request controlling Zydus from broadcasting its commercial contrasting Complain with Horlicks in light of the fact that the equivalent was deluding and demonizing. The Court depended on different decisions remembering the previously mentioned decisions for misdirecting ads, demonization and law administering distribution of notices on TV.
The consumer Protection Act, 2019 is definitely a better version than in comparison to the old Consumer Protection Act, 1986. It provides new remedies, new rights to the consumers and also a significant easier mechanism to get the remedy for one’s redressal. Furthermore, the New Act off 2019 does recognize the impact of the internet and based services on the today’s consumers life.
This indicates that even though the Union government of India has launched Atmanirbhar Bhart scheme, the country is still far from being the self-reliant but the new Consumer Protection Act, 2019 does provides a positive direction to make the consumers of India the Self-Reliant.
 Pranjal, P., & Mukherjee, M. (2020) ‘Atmanirbhar’campaigns-implications for marketers and campaign managers.
 Leelavathi, R. (2020) Economic Impact of Coronavirus Pandemic in India. Tathapi with ISSN 2320-0693 UGC CARE Journal, 19(20), pp. 88-102.
 Verma S., & Iyer, P.V., Nirmala Sitharaman: (2020) ‘Too many unknowns, I have to be ready, I can’t finish my story with these announcements’ The Indian express.
 Dr. Ajay Massand, M.K. Lodi, Dr. Lubna Ambreen- ATMANIRBHAR BHARAT: ECONOMIC, LEGAL, AND SOCIAL ASPECTS; International Journal of Management (IJM) Volume 11, Issue 6, June 2020, pp. 1038-1046, ISSN Print: 0976-6502 and ISSN Online: 0976-6510
 Section 18: Powers and functions of Central Authority.
(1) The Central Authority shall— (a) protect, promote and enforce the rights of consumers as a class, and prevent violation of consumers rights under this Act;
(b) prevent unfair trade practices and ensure that no person engages himself in unfair trade practices;
(c) ensure that no false or misleading advertisement is made of any goods or services which contravenes the provisions of this Act or the rules or regulations made thereunder;
(d) ensure that no person takes part in the publication of any advertisement which is false or misleading.
(2) Without prejudice to the generality of the provisions contained in sub-section (1), the Central Authority may, for any of the purposes aforesaid, —
(a) inquire or cause an inquiry or investigation to be made into violations of consumer rights or unfair trade practices, either suo motu or on a complaint received or on the directions from the Central Government;
(b) file complaints before the District Commission, the State Commission or the National Commission, as the case may be, under this Act;
(c) intervene in any proceedings before the District Commission or the State Commission or the National Commission, as the case may be, in respect of any allegation of violation of consumer rights or unfair trade practices;
(d) review the matters relating to, and the factors inhibiting enjoyment of, consumer rights, including safeguards provided for the protection of consumers under any other law for the time being in force and recommend appropriate remedial measures for their effective implementation;
(e) recommend adoption of international covenants and best international practices on consumer rights to ensure effective enforcement of consumer rights;
(f) undertake and promote research in the field of consumer rights;
(g) spread and promote awareness on consumer rights;
(h) encourage non-Governmental organisations and other institutions working in the field of consumer rights to co-operate and work with consumer protection agencies;
(i) mandate the use of unique and universal goods identifiers in such goods, as may be necessary, to prevent unfair trade practices and to protect consumers’ interest; (j) issue safety notices to alert consumers against dangerous or hazardous or unsafe goods or services; (k) advise the Ministries and Departments of the Central and State Governments on consumer welfare measures; (l) issue necessary guidelines to prevent unfair trade practices and protect consumers’ interest.
 Section 17: Complaints to authorities
 ILR (2010) 4 Del 489
 (2003) 27 PTC 305
 2020 SCC OnLine NCDRC 192
 2020 SCC Online NCDRC 490
 2020 AIR CC 2416