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 country, etc.
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 and bookstores.
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 Council.
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
The e-Book is available through Amazon Kindle, Kobo, Google
play, Rockstand, and iBooks.
The book is also be available at the following bookstores:
will be better protected - Narendra Modi
Employees are entitled to benefit of two years weightage
under the EPS
- Justice is not
Supreme Court fails
to uphold the law
Some suggestions to Chief Justice of India - Is it
that the Laws & Rules need to remain
only on paper?
Amendments to Consumer Protection Act
A big question
mark about the relevance of the judiciary
in safeguarding the consumer
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
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
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
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. These include:
It 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
- 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
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