India celebrates National Consumer Rights Day on December 24 every year to spread awareness about consumer rights and responsibilities. The day commemorates December 24, 1986, when the Consumer Protection Act received the assent of the President and came into force. The Act aims to protect consumers against all exploitation, including defective goods, negligent services, and unfair trade practices.
Consumer Rights Day in India is celebrated with a specific theme each year. In partnership with the State and Local Authorities, the Union Government holds events and programs on consumer awareness. They feature skits and plays highlighting consumers' rights. The slogan "Jago Grahak Jago" (Wake Up Consumers) often follow the performances.
Due to lockdowns, the Department of Consumer Affairs has started hosting virtual events explaining the provisions of the Consumer Protection Act, 2019. The theme for 2021 was "Consumer- Know Your Rights."
National Consumer Rights Day is often confused with World Consumer Rights Day, celebrated on March 15. Though both have the same purpose, the former is observed at the National level while the latter is celebrated globally.
National Consumer Rights Day- History
The Consumer Protection Act 1986 came when the exploitation of consumers plagued India. Hence, National Consumer Rights Day is considered a historic milestone in the consumer movement of the country. The Act empowered the consumers with six fundamental rights as follows:
- Right to Safety: To be protected against goods and services that may be hazardous to their health, life, and property
- Right to Choose: To have the freedom to choose between goods and services available at competitive rates.
- Right to be Informed: To be provided information about the quality, price, purity, potency, usage, date of manufacture/expiry, etc., of any good/service.
- Right to be Heard: Consumer complaints to be received due consideration at appropriate forums
- Right to Seek Redressal: To be provided fair settlement/ compensation against unfair trade practices.
- Right to Consumer Education: To be constantly made aware of their rights
The Consumer Protection Act underwent some changes in 1991 and 1993, followed by a significant amendment in December 2002. On July 20, 2020, the Act was replaced by the Consumer Protection Act 2019 to widen the scope of consumer rights.
National Consumer Rights Day - Significance
National Consumer Rights Day and the Consumer Act have gone a long way in protecting consumers from being cheated by manufacturers and sellers indulging in unfair trade practices. Unfair trade practices include:
- Offering spurious goods.
- Adopting deceptive practices.
- Not offering proper bills for goods or services sold.
- Refusing to take back defective goods.
- Disclosing the customer's personal information.
Further, the 2019 Act has also introduced the concept of an 'unfair contract.' This protects consumers from predatory contract terms that violate their rights. Accordingly, imposing an unreasonable condition that puts one party in a disadvantageous position is prohibited.
A new aspect introduced in the 2019 Act, which was not included in the repealed Act of 1986, is misleading online advertisements. Misleading advertisements include a false description or guarantee regarding a product, service, or deliberately not revealing essential information. The Central Consumer Protection Authority (CCPA) has the authority to act against such misleading advertisements and impose fines and penalties as it deems fit.
FAQs About National Consumer Rights Day
Q.1) When is National Consumer Rights Day celebrated in India?
National Consumer Rights Day is celebrated on December 24 each year.
Q.2) Why is December 24 celebrated as National Consumer Rights Day?
December 24 is celebrated as Consumer Rights Day since it commemorates December 24, 1986, when the President approved the Consumer Protection Act.
Q.3) What was the theme of National Consumer Rights Day 2021?
The theme of National Consumer Rights Day 2021 was "Consumer-Know Your Rights."