Planning for sweeping changes in consumer protection laws, the government will introduce a bill in Parliament in the second half of the Budget Session to amend the Consumer Protection Act.
The new law, that seeks to create a Consumer Protection Authority to fast-track grievance redressal of consumers on the lines of US and European countries, is likely to get the nod of Union Cabinet this month.
Food and Consumer Affairs Minister Ram Vilas Paswan said that the bill provides for punishment up to life imprisonment in certain cases of food poisoning and also has a provision for product liability.
"We are soon going to seek Cabinet nod for amending the existing Consumer Protection Act, 1986. We plan to pass the bill in Budget Session itself.
Since the first half of the session ends this week, the bill will come to Parliament when the Houses reconvene after the recess," Paswan told PTI.
Noting that the government is seriously planning to make consumer protection rules in India at par with international standards, he said many changes have been made in current law to protect consumer rights and simplify the judicial process to ensure speedy and inexpensive justice.
Paswan said if any consumer complaint affects more than one individual, that issue will go to the Authority, which will have the power to recall the product and cancel the licenses.
He further said that the provision will be applicable to a cross section of products ranging from cars to flats.
Besides giving back the invested money of consumers, the service providers will also have to take in account the inconvenience faced by passengers (air travellers) and the resultant losses, he added.