Due to mass production, new products are constantly introduced in the
market. Consumers find it difficult to determine the uses for which they are
fitted and to select them wisely because advertisement, attractive packaging,
display and mass media are extensively used by manufacturers to push goods on
consumers. Not all producers and sellers are honest. The desire for profit lead
some manufacturers to cheat consumers by offering adulterated and poor quality
products in the market. In short consumers in India are worst sufferers of the
economic exploitations and unfair trade practices. It is therefore necessary
for consumers to educate themselves about their rights and seek protection from
exploitation with the help of government and voluntary organisations.
In India there are a number of laws enacted to
protect consumer's interest directly. Some of the important laws are mentioned
The prevention of Food Adulteration Act (PFA)
In 1954 the Indian parliament enacted a law
called' The Prevention of Food Adulteration Act' It came into force from 1st
June 1995. The P.F.A lays down minimum standard requirements for all categories
of food. Any food stuff that does not come up to the minimum standards
specified by the PFA rules is considered adulterated.
The Agmark Act 1937
The 'Agmark' is a trade mark of quality levels of agricultural
commodities set up by the Directorate of marketing and Inspection of the
Government of India. 'Agmark' seal can be seen on food stuff such as edible
oils, butter, ghee, eggs, cereals, pulses, oil seeds, legumes, etc. This helps
the consumer in selecting foods and offers him protection with regard to
This is a
certification mark of the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) which was earlier
called as the Indian Standard Institution (I.S.I.). Indian standards cover food
items such as vegetables, fruit and meat products, spices, and condiment,
processed foods, cereal and soya products, candies, beverages, print paper,
etc. For the consumers, certification marks ensures that the product is cheap,
safe and pure.
Drugs and Cosmetics
Act - 1940
This Act was passed to protect consumers from drugs and cosmetics of
substandard quality by preventing them from being manufactured and marketed. It
lays down that no person or firm can stock, sell or distribute drugs unless
they have a proper license issued by the state government for the purpose.
Under this law it is mandatory that every dealer must issue a cash memo for the
drug sold to the consumer.
Under the provision of the Act, the central and
state government have been empowered to regulate the production, supply,
distribution, and processing essential commodities such as cattle fodder, coal,
iron, steel, paper, cotton and woolen textile, petroleum, petroleum products,
drugs, foods, raw jute and cotton. It provides punishment on any hoarder, black
marketer and profiteer. The offenders can be imprisoned for 3 - 5 years.
The Standards of
weights and measures Act 1976
The act provides for the
Establishment of an international system of
units (metric) for weighing and measuring.
Formulation of specifications for weights,
measures and equipments used for weighing and measuring.
Approval of models of equipment before they are
and measureb without seal or verification stamp are not genuine under any
COPRA - 1986
The enactment of 'Consumer Protection Act' 1986 is a milestone in the
consumer movement. This law gives a consumer the right to get compensation for
any loss suffered in accordance with the negligence of the manufacturers.