National Consumer Rights Day is observed every year on December 24. On this day in 1986, the Consumer Protection Act 1986 received the Presidential assent and thus came into force. The Act aims to provide consumers with effective safeguards against different types of exploitation, such as defective goods, deficiency in services and unfair trade practices.

This day provides an opportunity for people to highlight the importance of the consumer rights movement and the need to make every consumer more aware of their rights and responsibilities.

‘Jago Grahak Jago’, which means ‘Be aware consumer’, is a consumer awareness program launched by the Department of Consumer Affairs. As part of this initiative, the government has used channels to create consumer awareness through print, media advertisements, audio campaigns and video campaigns for consumer information and education.

Significance of the Consumer Protection Act, 1986

The Consumer Protection Act, 1986 is regarded as the ‘Magna Karta’ in the field of consumer protection for checking unfair trade practices. It has led to the establishment of a widespread network of consumer forums and appellate courts all over India which ensures speedy and inexpensive settlements of consumer disputes. It has significantly impacted how businesses approach consumer complaints and have empowered consumers to a greater extent.

The eight rights recognized under the Consumer Protection Act, 1986 includes six rights of the consumers provided in the UN charter.

  • The right to be protected against marketing of goods which are hazardous to life and property;
  • The right to be informed about the quality, quantity, potency, purity, standard and price of goods to protect the consumer against unfair trade practices;
  • The right to be assured, wherever possible, access to an authority of goods at competitive prices;
  • The right to be heard and to be assured that consumers interests will receive due consideration at appropriate forums;
  • The right to seek redressal against unfair trade practices or unscrupulous exploitation of consumers; and
  • The right to consumer education.

Theme for National Consumer Rights Day 2020

The Ministry of Consumer Affairs has decided the theme for National Consumer Rights Day 2020 to be: ‘New features of consumer protection act, 2019’. This theme will focus on the features of the new Consumer Protection Act passed by Parliament last year.

State governments are expected to hold panel discussions and webinars where domain experts will discuss the new laws and clear doubts of common citizens regarding consumer rights. The changes made to the Act in 2019 involve streamlining consumer complaints and establishing an online infrastructure to settle grievances and complaints.