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Report No. 105

Chapter V

Comments Received on the Working Paper

5.1. The Law Commission had,1 before formulating its conclusions, prepared a Working Paper setting forth the present position and inviting the views of interested persons and bodies on the subject, on certain tentative proposals. A large number of comments have been received on the Working Paper. The Commission is grateful to those who have taken the trouble of expressing their views on the Working Paper. Professor Manubhai Shah, Managing Trustee, Consumer Education and Research Centre, Ahmedabad who met the Member-Secretary of the Commission, has made certain valuable suggestions regarding legislation for the protection of the consumer. The Commission appreciates his keen interest in the subject. The points made by him will be referred to later in this Chapter, at the appropriate place.2

The Commission was also happy to have a meeting with the Secretary to the Government of India in the concerned Department, where the Government's points of view could be ascertained in detail. A gist of the points made by him will be given in this Chapter at the appropriate place.3

We now proceed to give in the succeeding paragraphs, a gist of the views expressed in the various comments.4

1. Law Commission of India, Working Paper on Quality Control and Inspection of Consumer Goods, April, 1984.

2. Para. 5.12, infra.

3. Para. 5.13, infra.

4. All comments received upto the date of signing this Report have been taken into account.

5.2. By and large, the comments received on the Working Paper1 favour the proposals put forth in the Working Paper, the only exception being one State Government.2

One of the comments, while agreeing with the main proposals, does not favour the creation of an Advisory Council.3

Some of the comments suggest the enactment of legislation much wider in scope than had been proposed in the Working Paper.4

A few comments suggest the incorporation of more stringent sanctions than those that were proposed in the Working Paper.5

The points made in the various comments are dealt with in this Chapter, at the appropriate place.

1. Para. 5.3, infra.

2. Para. 5.4, infra.

3. Para. 5.5, infra.

4. Paras. 5.6, 5.7 and 5.9, infra.

5. See infra.

5.3. As already stated,1 the vast majority of comments received on the Working Paper issued by the Commission favour the proposals that were put forth in the Working Paper, which were substantially the same as the recommendations that are going to be made in this Report.

These include-

(a) Three State Governments;2 (West Bengal, Andhra Pradesh and Sikkim);

(b) two High Courts;3

(c) One lawyers' association (the Incorporated Law Society of Calcutta,4 though it has suggested certain changes;

(d) One trade association, namely, the All India Motor & Transport Congress, New Delhi.5

1. Para. 5.2, supra.

2. Law Commission File No. F.2(1)/84-L.C., S. Nos. 7, 9 and 10.

3. Law Commission File No. F.2(1)/84-L.C., S. Nos. 16 and 17.

4. Law Commission File No. F.2(1)/84-L.C., S. No. 11.

5. Law Commission File No. F.2(1)/84-L.C., S. No. 5.

5.4. One State Government (Government of Haryana) has expressed its disagreement with the proposals that had been put forth in the Working Paper1. It has stated that the proposed legislation, instead of rendering justice cheap and speedy, would make it more expensive and cumbersome, as the consumer shall have to supply the samples of costly goods for examination and then make himself available to the Public Analyst for cross-examination at his own expense. On the first aspect, we may state that without supply of purchased goods for examination by the Public Analyst, it would not be possible to establish that subĀ¬standard or spurious goods were supplied to the consumer.

As regards the second aspect of the State Government's comments, namely, that the consumer has to make himself available for cross-examination at his own expense, it may be pointed out that the proposal of the Commission does not envisage cross-examination of the purchaser by the Public Analyst. All that is sought to be provided is that the purchaser who has purchased the goods, if he so doubts its quality, could take it to the Public Analyst and (on paying a reasonable fee) can get a report on the quality of the goods purchased. We do not think that this can be regarded as too burdensome.

1. Law Commission File No. F.2(1)/84-L.C., S. No. 17.

5.5. One High Court1 has suggested that the provision relating to constitution of advisory council (as envisaged in the proposal of the Commission) would defeat its purpose, and cause delay. We have given careful consideration to this aspect. It is possible that consultation with the Advisory Board may cause some delay in implementation of the regulatory measures envisaged by proposed legislation. But we believe that that would not be too big a price to pay for the other benefits expected to accrue from such consultation. In legislation which may affect various sections of the community, it appears to be wise to provide for consultation with the interests likely to be affected.

1. Law Commission File No. F.2(1)/84-L.C., S. No. 17.

5.6. Some of the comments on the Working Paper have made a plea for giving a wider scope to the proposals. For example, the All India Motor & Transport Congress, New Delhi, has suggested that the proposals should cover automobile parts also, in order to protect the consumer from exploitation by unscrupulous manufacturers who supply spurious and sub-standard automobile parts.1 One State Government (Government of Andhra Pradesh) has also suggested that the proposals should be more comprehensive2

One High Court also favours a wider coverage of consumer goods, particularly, automobiles and automobile spares, and points out that defects in such products may have disastrous consequences on human life or safety.3

1. Law Commission File No. F.2(1)/84-L.C., S. No. 5.

2. Law Commission File No. F.2(1)/84-L.C., S. No. 9.

3. Law Commission File No. F.2(1)/84-L.C., S. No. 16.



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