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Consumer Protection Act can be described as common man’s Civil Court and MRTP Act for the poor. The Act is designed to make available cheap and quick remedy to a small consumer. The Act was passed in 1986 and was made effective in 1987. Amendments were made in 1991 to provide for situations of absence of President of Forum. Major changes were made in 1993 (effective from 18-6-1993). - - On getting further experience of implementation of the Act, substantial changes have been made by Amendment Act, 2002. Major changes made in the Amendment Act are - * Enhancement in monetary limit of District Forum from Rs 5 lakhs to 20 lakhs and of State Commission from Rs 20 lakhs to Rs one crore * Payment of fees for filing complaint/appeal * Complaint/appeal will have to be admitted first * Reason to be recorded if decision not given within specified time * Cost of adjournment can be imposed * Interim orders can be passed * In absence of President, senior most member can discharge functions of President * Pre-deposit of certain amount before appeal is entertained * Notice can be sent by Fax/courier. The amendments have been made effective from 15-3-2003.

Procedure under CPA - Section 12(1) provides that a complaint in relation to any goods sold or delivered or to be sold or delivered or any service provided or agreed to be provided may be filed with consumer forum.

The Act envisages setting up of ‘Consumer Disputes Redressal Agency’ at local, i.e., district level, state level and national (Central) level. District Forum has jurisdiction to decide consumer disputes where value of goods or services and the compensation claimed does not exceed Rs. 20 lakhs. State Commission has jurisdiction to decide the cases where value of goods and services plus compensation is over Rs. 20 lakhs but not over Rs. 100 lakhs. In addition, it decides appeals filed against order of District Forum. National Commission (HQ at New Delhi) has original jurisdiction where matter is over Rs. 100 lakhs. It also has appellate jurisdiction over State Commission. Appeal against order of State Commission can be filed only in case of original order by State Commission i.e. when matter was over Rs. 20 lakhs. No appeal can be filed to National Commission in case where State Commission has passed order in appeal against original order of District Forum.

Appeal against order of National Commission lies with Supreme Court only in matters where it exercises original jurisdiction, i.e., when matter is over Rs. 100 lakhs. There is no provision of appeal in cases where National Commission decides under its appellate jurisdiction, i.e., when it decides appeal against order of State Commission.

Thus, in all cases, only one appeal has been provided.[However, revision petition to National Commission, which is second appeal by back door, can be filed].

Complaint can be filed by a consumer, a voluntary consumer association or Central/State Government. Class Action i.e., some consumers filing complaint on behalf of many consumers is also permitted. Complaint can be filed against (a) deficiency in goods or service (b) unfair trade practice or restrictive trade practice (c) charging of higher prices (d) Supplying hazardous goods or services. Fees are required to be paid along with the complaint. Complaint must be filed within two years from ‘cause of action’. This period can be extended on showing sufficient cause. Appeal against order of District Forum/State Commission/National Commission must be filed within 30 days from date of order. Penalty upto Rs. 10,000 can be imposed on a complainant, if it is found that he has made frivolous (bogus) complaint. Persons not complying with order of redressal authorities can be punished with imprisonment upto three years and/or fine upto Rs. 10,000.

Provisions are made for enforcement of order and imposition of penalty in case order of consumer forum is disobeyed.

Complaint to consumer forum - Section 12(1) provides that a complaint in relation to any goods sold or delivered or to be sold or delivered or any service provided or agreed to be provided may be filed with consumer forum.

District, State Commission and National Commission are consumer forums, termed as Consumer Dispute Redressal Agencies. It is necessary to understand meaning of ‘complaint’ and who can file the same.

Defect - The word ‘defect’ means any fault, imperfection or shortcoming in the quality, quantity potency, purity or standard that is required to be maintained by or under any law for the time being in force or under any contract, express or implied, or as is claimed by the trader in any manner whatsoever in relation to any goods (Section 2(1)(f) of CPA).

Consumer Dispute - ‘Consumer Dispute’ means a dispute where the person against whom a complaint has been made, denies or disputes the allegations contained in the complaint [section 2(1)(e)]. - - Obviously, if the person against whom complaint is made agrees to the complaint, there is no ‘consumer dispute’.

Who is ‘Complainant’ - Section 2(1)(b) of CPA defines that "Complainant" means (i) a consumer; or (ii) any voluntary consumer association registered under the Companies Act, or under any other law for the time being in force; or (iii) the Central Government or any State Government, who or which makes a complaint or (iv) One or more consumers, where there are numerous consumers having the same interest or (v) in case of death of a consumer, his legal heir or representative; - - who or which makes a complaint.

Exclusion if goods or services for Commercial purpose - A person who buys goods for resale or commercial purposes or avails services for commercial purposes is specifically excluded from definition of ‘consumer’.

Trader - Complaint can be lodged against a trader in case of goods and against service provider in case of services. ‘Trader’ includes manufacturer.

Deficiency in service - Complaint can be lodged against service provider if there is deficiency in service, or if he charges higher prices or provides services which are hazardous or where service provider follows unfair or restrictive trade practice.

Deficiency - ‘Deficiency’ means any fault, imperfection or shortcoming in the quality, quantity, potency, purity or standard, which is required to be maintained by or under any law for the time being in force or has been undertaken to be performed by a person in pursuance of a contract or otherwise in relation to any service. [section 2(1)(g) of CPA].

Restrictive and Unfair Trade Practices - Consumer Protection Act makes specific provisions in respect of Restrictive Trade Practices (RTP) and Unfair trade Practices (UTP).

Restrictive Trade Practice - Section 2(1)(nnn) of CPA [As amended by Amendment Act, 2002] define Restrictive Trade Practice (‘RTP’) as one which tends to bring about manipulation of price or its conditions of delivery or to affect flow of supplies in the market relating to goods or services in such a manner as to impose on the consumers unjustified costs or restrictions and shall include— (a) delay beyond the period agreed to by a trader in supply of such goods or in providing the services which has led or is likely to lead to rise in the price; (b) any trade practice which requires a consumer to buy, hire or avail of any goods or, as the case may be, services as condition precedent to buying, hiring or availing of other goods or services.

Unfair Trade Practice - Unfair Trade Practice is defined under section 2(1)(r) of CP Act. “Unfair trade practice” means a trade practice which, for the purpose of promoting the sale, use or supply of any goods or for the provision of any service, adopts any unfair method or unfair or deceptive practice

From India, Bahadurgarh
Can someone send me topics related to Restrictive and Unfair Trade Practices like in below format :-
- Merits of Restrictive and Unfair Trade Practices
- Demerits of Restrictive and Unfair Trade Practices
- Examples of Merits and Demerits of Restrictive and Unfair Trade Practices
- Thesis
- any kind of demonstration mainly supported with pictures
- a note on the conclusions and moral on such Restrictive and Unfair Trade Practices
- Bibliography.
- plus anything additions with you all think might be of information and useful to share with.
Thanks in advance

From India, Mumbai
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