Sr. Advocate Tamizh Mani appreciates
the real work done !!
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
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 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:
Consumers will be
better protected - Narendra Modi
Employees are entitled to benefit of two years weightage
under the EPS
- Justice is
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
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 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
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
- 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
- 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 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