JUSTICE MB Shah, former judge of the Supreme Court and present chairman of the National Consumer Dispute Research Commission, said that aggressive marketing policies had become a source of exploitation of the common man.
“Most of the consumers remain ignorant about the contents of the products they were purchasing from the open market,” he added.
Inaugurating the six-day short-term course on ‘Law and Economics’ at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT-K) here on Monday, Justice Shah said that it was obligatory that the technical persons should know the rights and duties towards the society and should try to protect the consumers’ interests. The consumers should also have the knowledge of the products he was going to buy, he added.
Dwelling upon the need and strict implementation of the provisions of the Consumers Protection Act he said a strict implementation of the Act could ensure consumers’ protection. Besides, he said that the non-government and other consumer organisations could play an important role in raising awareness among the consumers about their rights.
He said that in some cases it was found that the established companies did not provide the correct data about their products and defrauded the consumers.
When such cases were brought before the consumer courts, the companies were issued directives to pay compensation to the aggrieved consumer and ensure the authenticity of the information with regard to their products, he added.
He urged the technical persons to keep informing the consumers about the real facts related to any product.
He said that most of the trade controlling bodies were indolent and did not discharge their duties sincerely. This created problems for the consumers, he added.
Citing an example, he said that in the most sensitive area of medicine trade, the role of the Medical Council of India could not prove very effective.
Addressing the inaugural session, the guest of honour, former judge and the present chairman Consumer Dispute Redressal Commission Uttar Pradesh Justice Palok Basu said that consumer protection culture was the gift of democracy. It could not exist in countries under oligarchy or monarchy, he added.
Justice Basu said that all kinds of deficiencies in services fell under the purview of the Consumers Act.
Citing an example, he said a private hospital, which denied treatment to a boy injured in a road accident brought by a passer-by, was sued for its negligence.
The hospital had denied admission to the boy till the required admission and examination charges were not deposited in advance, he added.