Chair: Dr. A. Rajendra Prasad, Head, Department of Law, Andhra University
Joyeeta Chatterjee, Gujarat National Law University: Vulnerable Consumers and Poverty as an Issue of Consumer Law.
In the present era of globalization, the ‘cause and effect’ phenomenon relates to poverty has become immensely entangled and the present and the present surge of consumerism in its most aggressive mien has added fuel to the fire. It is largely contented that globalization policies have failed to strike a healthy balance between growth, development and its negative side- effects.
Competition between producers to attract customers is expected to create economic efficiency, innovation and better quality products at lower prices. However, instead of offering choices and lower prices, liberlisation has led to the creation of monopolies and cartels thereby denying consumer the very benefit which it is supposed to promote. It is thus imperative that competition is promoted with the benefit to the consumer in mind.
Consumer over- indebtedness has too been a central legal policies, procedures, law and cases from a consumer welfare perspective. It would throw light on the existing legislation in over- indebtedness and consumer bankruptcy along with consumer bankruptcy along with consumer insolvency regulation, and consumer credit legislations. Apart from linking debt relief to poverty reductions, it would analyze the nexus between bankruptcy and poverty. It would further suggest methods that can be adopted in the realm of consumer law to alleviate the poverty.
Ashish Krupakar, IInd Year, Gujarat National Law University: Vulnerable Consumers and Poverty as an Issue of Consumer Law:-
The speaker put forth his main aim, to address the need for the presence of a consumer law coupled with a procedure which would address the need of vulnerable consumers which the mainstream laws fail to address. He firstly defined a consumer as per Indian laws, the definition provided by the Consumer Protection Act of 1986 which was enacted in furtherance of the United Nations Guidelines. As per this Act, a Consumer is one: -who buys goods for a consideration, or someone who buys services for a consideration.
He says that the Consumer Protection Act of 1986 does not make any special provisions with regard to uneducated consumers and the poor whose access to legal remedy is restricted. He suggested that the Consumer Protection Laws should be further expanded with a view to include the following:
- Protection of consumers from hazardous goods and the right to safety and health.
- The promotion and protection of economic interests of the poor.
- Access to adequate information.
- Control of misleading advertisements and deceptive information.
- Consumer Education.
- Effective Vulnerable Consumer Redress.
His final recommendations were that we need in India the following:
- Consumer Education
- Adequate Consumer Information
- Presence of a non – litigation form of a redress mechanism to settle minor disputes as a measure to tackle expensive litigation.
- Simplify existing procedures in cases where litigation is a must and provide poor litigants with the right to free legal aid.
- Ayushi Mittal, IInd Year, NALSAR University of Law Hyderabad
- Disket Angmo, IInd Year, NALSAR University of Law, Hyderabad.