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CERC suggests CP Act Amendments

CERC has sent detailed comments on the Draft proposed by the Ministry of Consumer Affairs for amendments to the Consumer Protection Act, 1986 making nearly 40 suggestions. Some of the major suggestions are:

  • Inclusion of ‘Unfair Terms’ (of contract) along the lines of the 17 terms prescribed by the European Union
  • Restrictions on granting adjournments
  • Removal of proposed monetary limit restricting the engagement of advocate by a party
  • Awarding reasonable costs to Consumer Organisations
  • Punitive damages should be made compulsory for regular offenders
  • Use of Consumer Groups/consumer activists as mediators
  • Complaints arising from transactions in security markets to be included
  • Formation of Panel of Experts by the consumer fora
  • Public services provided by Government agencies which are deficient in quality and performance should be included in definition of ‘Complaint’.

CERS, Bharat Sevak Samaj set up City Centre

CERS in collaboration with Bharat Sevak Samaj established a Consumer Protection Centre for residents of the old city area of Ahmedabad. The City Centre, launched on 12 August 2014, is located in Lal Darwaja area. It will have a Complaints Cell which will address grievances of the public and attempt to resolve them by mediation. It will function once a week on Wednesday (except on public holidays) to begin with, from 12 pm to 6 pm.

The address of the City Centre is:

CERS City Centre
Nashabandi Mandal Compound
Opp. Apna Bazaar, Lal Darwaja
Ahmedabad – 380001.

Telephone no. – 8141488222.

CERS protests increase in Renewable Purchase Obligation

CERS has written to the Gujarat Electricity Regulatory Commission (GERC) chairman strongly protesting any increase in Renewable Purchase Obligation (RPO), which is imposed by GERC on distribution companies (DISCOMs). As per the RPO, DISCOMs have to purchase a certain percentage of energy which is from renewable sources mandatorily. GERC has increased RPO for 2014-15 to 8% which includes 6.25% of wind energy, 1.25% of solar energy and remaining 0.5% from other sources.

In the letter, K.K. Bajaj, Chief General Manager of CERC, has suggested that the RPO should be restricted to 6% till: (i) Abundant wind power is available (ii) Solar power cost is reduced below Rs. 6.50 per unit and (iii) Transmission & Distribution lines are available for procuring renewable energy.

CERC takes part in Roundtable on Counterfeit Food Products

The Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) along with the Department of Consumer Affairs organised a Roundtable on Smuggled and Counterfeit Food Products on 24 July 2014 in New Delhi. It focused on the packaged food sector specifically milk and milk products, bakery products and cereals, aerated water and mineral water and edible oils. Anindita Mehta from CERC attended the roundtable. CERC made the following recommedations:

  • Manufacturers should share their findings with Consumer Organisations which can give wide publicity to the issue with pictures and product details.
  • FICCI should start an interactive website where detailed information about such fake products is available and consumers can also report their experiences.
  • COs with testing facilities, like CERC, should be used by manufacturers since their reports can be useful in courts.
  • The concept of class action suits should be adopted for wrongful money made by the producers/traders on spurious and counterfeit products instead of filing criminal cases, unless it involves serious health hazards and safety of consumers.
  • Exemplary penalty provision – ‘disgorgement of unjust enrichment’ – should be imposed under which manufacturers/traders needs to pay twice the amount that is estimated to have been collected by sale of such products with interest. This will act as a greater deterrent than prosecution.
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