In order to safeguard consumer interests, the Ministry of Consumer Affairs on Wednesday notified that most provisions of the Consumer Protection Act, 2019 will come into force on July 20, 2020. The Government, however, has not taken a decision on provisions related to e-commerce as well as those relating to the constitution of an apex Central Consumer Protection Authority at the national level.
According to Rohit Gupta, chairman, Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI), ASCI welcomes the new Consumer Protection Act set to be enforced from July 20, 2020. “Our efforts, as the advertising self regulatory body, are also to protect the consumers’ interest. We expect to see a significant impact in the control of misleading advertisements – currently very high in the educational as well as healthcare products and services sector and Teleshopping genre,” he added.
The ASCI claims that it will soon be launching monitoring of potentially misleading advertisements appearing on digital media, in addition to the print and television surveillance. “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.
Last year, the Parliament had passed the Consumer Protection Bill replacing the three decade old Consumer Protection Act, 1986. The Act seeks to create a Central Consumer Protection Council for effective and timely settlement of consumers’ disputes. In addition, the Act also provides for mediation as an alternate dispute settlement mechanism so that disputes can be resolved faster. Moreover, it also incorporates the concept of ‘product liability’ wherein action may be brought against a product manufacturer/ product service provider or a product seller for any harm caused to a complainant on account of a defective product.