12 March : A Two day Conference of the Presidents, State Commissions and the Secretaries, Incharge, Consumer Affairs of the State Governments/UT Administrations is being organised by the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission from Monday 14th March 2011 in New Delhi to mark the World Consumer Rights Day. The World Consumer Rights is observed on 15th March every year.
The Conference will be inaugurated by Mr. Justice Dalveer Bhandari, Judge, Supreme Court of India. Union Minister for Law & Justice Mr. M. Veerappa Moily will be the Chief Guest and Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Consumer Affairs, Food & Public Distribution Prof. K.V. Thomas will preside over the conference.Issues likely to be taken up during the Conference include progress on the implementation of the Resolutions passed in the previous Conferences; Uniform Procedure in Listing of Cases for Admission and Subsequent Disposal; Steps required to be taken to reduce the arrears and ensure speedy Disposal; Holding of Lok Adalats in the Consumer Fora; Upgrading and augmenting the infrastructure of the Consumer Fora under the Integrated Project; Progress made in modernization and computerization of quick redressal System; Training for the Members of the State Commissions and District Fora and, Holding of conference of the Presidents of District Forums in the respective State.
Consumers in India are given legal rights under the Consumer Protection Act, 1986 (in short, ‘the Act’) which is a benevolent social legislation that lays down the rights of the consumers and provides their for promotion and protection of the rights of the consumers. The first and the only Act of its kind in India, it has enabled ordinary consumers to secure less expensive and often speedy redressal of their grievances. By spelling out the rights and remedies of the consumers in a market so far dominated by organized manufacturers and traders of goods and providers of various types of services, the Act makes the dictum, caveat emptor (‘buyer beware’) a thing of the past.
The Act mandates establishment of Consumer Protection Councils at the Centre as well as in each State and District, with a view to promoting consumer awareness.
The Central Council is headed by Minster, In-charge of the Department of Consumer Affairs in the Central Government and the State Councils by the Minister In-charge of the Consumer Affairs in the State Governments. It also provides for a 3-tier structure of the National and State Commissions and District Forums for speedy resolution of consumer disputes.
At present, there are 604 District Forums and 34 State Commissions with the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC) at the apex.