An Aware Consumer
The Indian Consumer Movement which had
a phenomenal launch after the enactment of the landmark Consumer Protection
Act, in 1986, is literally in the doldrums now. The indifferent actions
of the government has led to dismal performance of the consumer courts and
dispirited consumer groups, which were earlier being given a prime place in
the consultation process. Consumer activist B. Vaidyanathan has published
an insightful book ‘An Aware Consumer’. The book throws light on various initiatives
taken by him in order to protect the rights of the consumers. B.Vaidyanathan,
Chief Mentor, Consumer Protection Council (CPC), Rourkela, has been associated
with the Indian consumer movement, for well over 30 years and has many achievements
to his credit, apart from organising a voluntary consumer organisation in
the tribal belt of Odisha.
In this book, he has written about several campaigns
led by him in order to bring awareness about consumer rights and the landmark
Consumer Protection Act. Some of his major initiatives which fructified, through
CPC, Rourkela, include establishing a separate District Forum for Rourkela,
the second in the district, (Sundergarh is one of the few districts in the
country wherein two forums are functioning to cater to the aggrieved consumers),
relocating the Doordarshan TV transmitter to Durgapur hills, refunding of
the booking advance to those affected by M/s LML and M/s APSL, re-routing
of the Alleppey-Bokaro express via Chennai Central, restoration of the AC
Chair Car in the Ispat Express, restoration of Home Delivery of cooking gas
refills, upgradation of 184 LPG bottling plants of the 3 Oil Marketing Companies
(IOCL, BPCL and HPCL), to effectively solve the issue of short-filling of
the refills, which affected crores of unsuspecting housewives across the
One could understand the concern relating to
the evolution and distorted growth of the consumer movement in this country.
In this book, he has strongly conveyed that the benefits of the statutes enacted
by the Parliament should not be allowed to go waste. It is his message that
the Government, Judiciary, Media and the People will have to play their roles
effectively, for a better tomorrow. An important consultative body like the
Central Consumer Protection Council, the backbone on which the consumer movement
got such a fillip in the 90s, has been made dormant by those in the power
in 2006, by surreptitiously amending the Consumer Protection Rules, has been
recorded in the memoirs in unequivocal terms.
Similarly, Mr. Vaidyanathan has not taken lightly,
the lop-sided handling of the LPG under-weighment case by the Supreme Court,
in 2012, practically denying the mandate of the Consumer Protection Act, to
the litigant Consumer Protection Council, Rourkela. The details shared in
the book in respect of this case are indeed alarming and should make all those
vouching for the rule of law, to hang their head in shame.
Published by Notion Press, the book is currently available
on well-known ecommerce sites.
Discerning consumers should not miss out reading this book, as it narrates
a number of Public Interest cases, behavior of the courts and the role
of important consultative bodies such as the Central Consumer Protection
An Aware Consumer,
is available online at Notion Press bookstore, Flipkart, Shopclues, Infibeam,
Amazon, for readers from India. Internationally, it can be obtained
through www.amazon.com and www.amazon.co.uk.
The e-Book is available
through Amazon Kindle, Kobo, Google play, Rockstand, and iBooks.
The book is also be available at the following bookstores:
Let the consumer
Employees are entitled to benefit of two years weightage
under the Employees Pension Scheme (EPS)
- Justice is not Supreme
Supreme Court fails
to uphold the law
Some suggestions to Chief Justice of India - Is it
that the Laws & Rules need to remain only
Amendments to Consumer Protection Act
A big question
mark about the relevance of the judiciary in safeguarding
Curative Petition dismissed)
In India, consumers have been at the receiving end
since long. One thought that things will
change for the better after the Consumer Protection
Act was enacted in 1986 and a structured approach was
adopted to promote and safeguard the interests of the consumers.
But after 2004, things have gone from bad to worse.
Commencing from the castration of the Central Consumer Protection
Council, the relevance of the consumer Act itself has been
brought into question. If the government is found wanting
and none too serious to strengthen this voluntary initiative
of the individuals to do their bit for a healthy society, which
in any case is bound to benefit the industry, its competitiveness
and the country as a whole, myopic approach only appear to rule the
roost, as on date.
Important amendments which were brought in 2003
to the Consumer Protection Act, with a clear objective
of penalising Unfair Trade Practices and to compensate
the consumer/litigant adequately have been frustrated by
the indifferent approach of the National Commission as well
as the Supreme Court. That is why, giving the benefit of
doubt to the bench which did not do justice to the issues placed
before it by Consumer Protection Council, Rourkela, and to take
the issues pursued by it to the logical end, Curative Petition
was filed. The GROUNDS
categorically illustrate the denial of “Natural
Justice” to the Petitioner Council and the failure
of the Court in addressing the issues raised in the “Appeal”.
Rupa Ashok Hurra case specifically
has laid “Violation of Principles of Natural justice”
as the valid ground for considering a Curative Petition.
Question is whether a narrow view of non-issue of notice
alone should be taken as the requisite ground for allowing the
Appeal or blatant denial to consider the Grounds of Appeal
by the concerned bench should be treated alike, in the larger
interests of justice? If this anomaly is not addressed,
Curative Petitions will only be found useful
when the media start highlighting an issue, like the LGBT case
– leading to the strength of the population deciding the outcome
of the Curative Petition. This does not augur well
for a civilized democratic country.
Learned ex-Justice of Gujarat & Rajasthan
High Courts, Sri M.R.Calla, and designated Sr. Advocate
of the Supreme Court had unequivocally advocated for
allowing the Curative Petition of the Council, pointing
out the gross miscarriage of justice and denial
of natural justice. But that has not
appealed to the Supreme Court bench headed by the CJI,
who have dismissed
the Curative Petition, as per the Order
made available on the internet today.
Something needs to be done to address and to
save the people from this hyper-technical approach
of the Supreme Court and to promote the consumer movement,
which is after all in the best interests of the nation.
Will Shri Narendra Modi and his government do something to
stem this rot?
How can the Supreme
Court pass an irrelevant order?
is your right'
Fleece the consumer
and go scot-free
Finish the consumer movement?
A consumer organisation
with a difference. Instead
of rendering advisory services alone, the Council
since its inception, in 1985, has been taking up issues
affecting them through the consumer courts and other means and
feels proud to have provided relief to crores of people.
will not be an exaggeration to add that its activities
have added to the confidence of the Rourkela population,
against unethical business practices.
- Remedial action against
short filling of LPG in cooking gas refills; of the
184 LPG Bottling Plants, of the three Oil Marketing Companies
(IOC, BP & HP), only 4 remain to be automated.
Even these will be modernised within the next financial year
2013-14). The quantified loss of nearly Rs. 750 crores
per year to the consumers across the country has been taken
care by this upgradation. Thanks to the Council's
Original Petition initiatied in 2001, before the National
Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC).
- Won an important case against
the Rourkela Development Authority and secured financial
relief for a group of individuals, against violation
of Plan & Specifications in the construction of
the houses and delay in handing over the possession.
- Obtained a separate District
Forum for Rourkela, though it is not the district
headquarters, which otherwise necessitated the entire
Rourkela population to approach the Forum, situated at Sundergarh,
a place 100 km away;
- Re-routing of Dhanbad-Alleppey
Express train through Chennai Central;
- Campaigned against non transferring
of excise duty concessions (to the consumers) extended by
the union government to the industry;
- Better upkeep of the railway
coaches of Utkal Kalinga Express and other trains;
- Reintroduction AC Chair
Car in Ispat Express;
- Refunding of booking advance
by M/s APSL and M/s LML; and many more.
The fifth Voluntary Consumer Organisation in the
country to have set up a Consumer Information
Centre, with the support of Ministry of Consumer
Affairs and Public Distribution, Govt. of India. Has earned
a niche for creating consumer awareness
and handling of individual as well as group/class
grievances. It is bringing out an English monthly
Advantage Consumer, to educate the consumers.
It is represented in various Advisory bodies.
An Aware Consumer is
an Asset to the Nation
Through this site effort will be made to disseminate
all relevant information and answers to many of the
queries which are frequently asked. Knowledge is power
and ignorance is the root cause of all exploitation. As a consumer,
we hope you will find the site quite useful. Since ours
is a voluntary organisation with meagre resources we have designed
the site on our own and are sure there will be lot of scope
to improve. As such we invite the public and the visitors to
this site to communicate their valuable feedback, so that we may
improve the contents of this site.
Lots & Lots of information in store
for you to tap, in the Information Section.
Why wait to click on Information.
If you are keen to support the Council, you may send in
your donations through crossed Cheques/Demand
Drafts, drawn in favour of "Consumer Protection Council,
Rourkela". All donations to the Council are exempted
under sec. 80G of the Income Tax Act. The Council is also registered
under the FCRA (Foreign Contribution Regulation Act).