New Delhi: The Rajya Sabha on Tuesday took for discussion, the Consumer Protection Bill 2019. The Bill, which was passed by the Lok Sabha on July 30, was introduced by Food and Consumer Affairs Minister Ram Vilas Paswan during the ongoing debate in the Upper House.

What is the objective of the Bill?

According to Paswan, the overall objective of the Bill is to “ease the process of addressing grievances of consumers”. It further aims to protect consumers from being misled by ads or false claims.

What are the salient features of the Consumer Protection Bill 2019?

It aims to set up a Central Consumer Protection Authority (CCPA), which, among other things, will be empowered to conduct investigations into violation of consumer rights and order recall of unsafe goods and services.

The CCPA will also have the power to order a ban on broadcast of misleading/false advertisements and impose upon the manufacturer a penalty of up to Rs 10 lakh and imprisonment for up to two years.

The Bill also has a Product Liability Provision which deters manufacturers from providing faulty products or services. It also simplifies the dispute resolution process through several provisions, one of which allows consumers to file complaints from their homes and attend hearings via videoconferencing.

The mediation provision, meanwhile, will allow for early disposition of cases.

Does it replace another bill?

The Consumer Protection Bill, if passed by the Parliament, will replace the Consumer Protection Act, 1986.

According to Ram Vilas Paswan, the Consumer Protection Act was unable to resolve the issues of pending cases. The Consumer Protection Bill, on the other hand, has provisions for faster resolution of pending cases.

Has the opposition suggested amendments in the Bill?

Trinamool Congress’ (TMC) Derek O’Brien and KK Ragesh of Communist Party of India (Marxist) (CPIM)  have both moved amendments to send the Bill to select committee for further scrutiny. The government, meanwhile, has done away with “healthcare” provision due to objections raised by several members.