Rajya Sabha has passed the crucial Consumer Protection Bill 2019, which empowers the consumers against misleading products, false advertisements and hyped marketing.
Among other provisions, celebrities such as Bollywood stars and Cricket superstars can now face upto Rs 50 lakh penalty and 5 years in jail for endorsing false ads and products.
This is a big win for consumers in India, and a long-overdue right as well.
The New Empowered Consumer Protection Bill 2019
Consumer Protection Bill 2019 replaces the old Consumer Protection Act, 1986 has several new provisions and rules which never existed in India.
Tabled by Union Food and Consumer Affairs Minister Ram Vilas Paswan, the bill was already passed in the Lok Sabha, and needed Rajya Sabha approval, which it received this week.
As per the provisions of the bill, Central Consumer Protection Authority (CCPA) has been established, which will oversee all the complaints made by the consumer. It will have a special investigation wing, which will be headed by Director General and have been given sufficient authority and power to take action as well.
And this includes punishing celebrities too.
Rs 50 Lakh Fine For Celebrities & Jail Term Too
In case a celebrity in India endorses a fake product or service, then for the first-time offense CCPA has the authority to impose a penalty of Rs 10 lakh and/or jail term of 2 years.
On repeated offense, the celebrity can be ordered to pay a penalty of Rs 50 lakh and/or jail term of upto 5 years.
Besides, the celebrity can be also banned from endorsing any other product for a year, which can be extended to 5 years, in case of a repeat offense.
In case the celebrity is able to prove that they have done due research from their end before accepting to endorse the product, then the penalty and the fine can be reduced or removed, depending on the seriousness of the offense.
Hierarchy Of Complaints
Under the new Consumer Protection Bill, Consumer Disputes Redressal Commissions (CDRCs) will be set-up across the country.
There will be three hierarchies of this: District Level, State Level and National Level.
District level Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (CDRC) will attend to consumer disputes upto Rs 1 crore, while State Level CDRC will cater to complaints till Rs 10 crore.
National Level CDRC has been entrusted to deal with complaints of more than Rs 10 crore value.