Consumer Protection Act 1986, COPRA\n\n\n\nCOPRA is applicable to all goods sold and services rendered\nby any person \/constitution pertaining to public \/ private or co-operative\nsectors. The act covers all transactions in respect of goods and services.\nBanking and insurance services are also covered by the act.\n\n\n\nThe objective of the act is to provide better protection to\nthe interest of the consumer. Central Consumer Protection Council has been\nconstituted by the central government. The minister for food and civil supplies\nis the chairman. It has 150 members providing for representation of various\ngroups like MPs, Commissioner of SC\/ST consumer organization, women, farmers\netc.\n\nconsumer rights\n\n\n\n\n\nState level Consumer Protection Council has been set up at\nstate level.\n\n\n\nThe provisions of this act of compensatory in nature which\nmeans apart from the actual damages caused to the buyer or beneficiary of\nservices, compensation for aspects like mental agony, reputation also may be\ndecided by the judiciary.\n\nHowever the provisions of this act is not made applicable to\nJammu and Kashmir state.\n\n\n\nDefinition of the Consumer. Consumer is any person who buys any goods\/ avails any\nservice for consideration i.e. for value for example a person who got the goods\nor services as a gift cannot be treated as a consumer. In the transaction whether\nthe amount is fully paid or partly paid or payment is deferred over a period of\ntime, still the buyer or the beneficiary will be treated as a consumer. The\ngoods should have been purchased for the self-use and not for resale or\ncommercial use.\n\nRights of the consumer. The rights of the consumer are:\n\n\n\n1. To be protected against marketing of goods hazardous to life\nor property.\n\n2. To be informed about quality and quantity price standard.\n\n3. To get access to variety of goods.\n\n4. To seek justice against unfair trade practices.\n\n5. For consumer education.\n\n\n\nStructure: Under COPRA the Complaints\/disputes can be settled at three\nlevels depending upon the amount of claim.\n\n\n\nDistrict forum: Each District will have one District Consumer Forum and it\nwill comprise of three members- one person is a District Judge, second is an\neminent person in trade, commerce or education. Third is a lady social worker. Term\nof each member is 5 years for office and is meant for claims up to rupees 20\nlacs.\n\n\n\nState Commission: This is a State level Consumer dispute Redressal Commission\nand it is meant for claims between Rs. 20 lacs to 100 lacs. This Commission\ncomprises of three members, High Court judge as president, two other members (one\nwomen) who have adequate experience knowledge in economic, law and who are\npersons of high integrity and standing.\n\n\n\nNational Commission: This is at at National level and is meant for claims above Rs. 1\ncrore. This consists of 5 members and will be headed by a retired Supreme Court\njudge, designated as president. The Other member (one woman) will be percent of\nintegrity and ability as well experienced \/well informed in Economics, Law etc.\n\n\n\nSalient Features: Complaints\nmay be consumers\/ voluntary organizations\/ Central or State Government. Complaints\nmay be on account of loss or damage due to unfair trade practices. Complain\nshould be in writing and contain all details along with the supporting documents.\nComplaint may be by one consumer\/ group of consumers. Frivolous or vexatious\ncomplaints will be dismissed. No feee need to be paid to consumer forum while\nfilling the complaint. Filling of complaint should be in writing and closing\nall documentary evidences. The cause of complaint should fall within the\nlimitation period, as per Indian Limitation Act. The complaint should be filed\nwithin the appropriate jurisdiction as per the amount of the claim. Award may\nbe given for removal or replacement of defective goods, refund of price,\npayment of damage and compensation. \n\n\n\nAward: While dealing with the case under COPRA, award is expected\nto be passed by the Forum President within 3 months, in case no further\nChemical\/ Laboratory examination of goods products is required. In case the\nexamination is required, Award may be given in 5 months. Both the parties of\nthe complaint have to appear before the forum. Consumer Forum has the power to\nserve summons to all the parties to the case to present before the forum as and\nwhen required.\n\nOnce the award is passed by the forum the orders are to be\ncomplied within 30 days, so as to avoid attracting imprisonment for a period\nfrom one month to 5 years and fine ranging from Rs. 2000 to Rs.10000 for both. Any\nof the parties to the case, not satisfied with the Award may prefer an appeal\nwith the next level of forum within 30 days from the date of Award.