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
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 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 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).