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Dec 20, 2018

Lok Sabha passes Consumer Protection Bill

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Lok Sabha on Thursday passed the Consumer Protection Bill, 2018 that seeks to replace the Consumer Protection Act, 1986. 

The Bill enforces consumer rights and provides a mechanism for redressal of complaints regarding deficiencies in goods and services. It seeks to establish Consumer Disputes Redressal Commissions at District, State and National levels. 

The district Commissions are authorised to look into complaints involving claims worth one crore rupees, which was 20 lakh rupees earlier. 

The State Commissions’ limit is to be increased from one crore rupees to 15 crore rupees. Complaints over and above that limit would be handled by the National Commission. The Bill also seeks to impose stringent punishment for food adulterations. 
Minister for Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution, Ram Vilas Paswan moved the Bill for further consideration in the post-lunch session. He said, the prevailing act is thirty-two years old, which does not reflect conditions in the current consumer market.

The Bill was supported by all the eleven members who participated in the discussion, though Congress members continued to raise slogans seeking JPC probe on Rafale deal.

In his reply, Mr. Paswan denied the apprehensions of some members that it would encroach upon the powers of the states in making appointments to the Consumer Commissions. The Bill was passed later by a voice vote. 

Talking to media outside the Parliament, the Minister said, the bill was necessary keeping in mind the rising awareness among consumers about their rights.

Lok Sabha also passed the National Trust for Welfare of Persons With Autism, Cerebral Palsy, Mental retardation and Multiple Disabilities (Amendment) Bill, 2018. 

Minister for Social Justice and Empowerment Thaawar Chand Gehlot moved the Bill in the post-lunch session. After a very brief discussion, it was passed by a voice vote.

Congress members continued to raise slogans in support of their demand for JPC probe into Rafale deal till the two bills were passed. 

Later, Speaker Sumitra Mahajan adjourned the House for the day as acrimonious scenes continued to mar the proceedings. 

Earlier, in the morning, Congress, AIADMK and TDP members were in the well protesting on several issues, forcing the Chair to adjourn the proceedings till noon. 

As the House reassembled, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley presented the Supplementary Demands for Grants for the current financial year, amidst noisy scenes. He also introduced Companies (Amendment) Bill, 2018. 

The Rajya Sabha also witnessed noisy scenes over Rafale aircraft deal and Cauvery issue before adjourning for the day. 

Chairman Venkaiah Naidu adjourned the House within ten minutes after it met for the day. Congress and BJP MPs exchanged heated arguments on Rafale while AIADMK and DMK members surged into the well holding placards in support of their demand for a permanent solution to the Cauvery water dispute between Tamil Nadu and Karnataka.

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