Consumer Protection Act 1986

Draft Consumer Protection (Direct Selling) Rules, 2021

Unlike the erstwhile Consumer Protection Act, 1986, the Consumer Protection Act, 2019 (“CPA 2019”), has defined ‘direct selling’[1], and expressly included any person who buys products or avails services through direct selling or multi-level marketing within the definition of ‘consumer’. However, a framework for regulating direct selling under the CPA 2019 has not been put into place till now. With the recently released draft Consumer Protection (Direct Selling) Rules, 2021 (“Draft Rules”), the Department of Consumer Affairs has finally taken demonstrable steps towards formalising the regulatory framework for direct selling entities in India.


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 One-Sided-Contractual-Terms-Constitute-Unfair-Trade-Practice-Under-Consumer-Law-in-India

INTRODUCTION:

A three-judge bench of the Supreme Court, in Ireo Grace Realtech Pvt. Ltd. v. Abhishek Khanna and Ors.[1], has inter alia held that developers cannot compel apartment buyers to be bound by one-sided contractual terms. Finding such one-sided agreements oppressive, the Court has held that the same would constitute an unfair trade practice under the consumer laws in India.
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RERA or Consumer Fora – Homebuyers can make the choice!

Can allottees approach Consumer Forum under the Consumer Protection Act, 1986[1] (the “CP Act”), despite the remedies available under the Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Act, 2016 (the “RERA”), if they don’t want to take a recourse under the latter? This question was long debated and the Supreme Court of India (“Supreme Court”) finally answered it in the case of Imperial Structures Limited v. Surinder Anil Patni and Another[2]. The Supreme Court held that the RERA does not bar the jurisdiction of the CP Act to deal with the complaints filed by consumers who are homebuyers or allottees of real estate projects registered under RERA. While this finding may create more challenges and complexities, such as parallel litigations and claims initiated under both RERA and CP Act, we will analyse the rationale behind this judgment.
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The Age of the Indian Consumer

In a recent decision[1] passed by the Hon’ble Supreme Court, developers were directed to pay compensation in excess of the contractually stipulated amount to flat purchasers, on account of delay in handing over possession and non-fulfilment of certain representations made to them. It was also held that consumer forums established under the Consumer Protection Act, 1986 (CP Act, 1986), are empowered to award just and reasonable compensation (even beyond the contractually stipulated amount, wherever necessary) to alleviate the harassment and agony caused to a consumer.
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Extent of applicability of Code of Civil Procedure, 1908 to proceedings under the Consumer Protection Act, 1986

OVERVIEW

The Consumer Protection Act, 1986 (read with the rules and regulations framed thereunder) (hereinafter referred to as the “Act”) was enacted with the objective of providing better protecting the interests of consumers. Towards this end, the Act provides for the establishment of consumer councils and other authorities for settlement of consumer disputes and for matters connected therewith. The Act is a composite and complete code in itself, providing for exhaustive substantive and procedural provisions in relation to the redressal of consumer disputes. For speedy redressal of consumer disputes, the Act provides for setting up of quasi-judicial machinery at the District, State and Central Level (“Dispute Redressal Authorities”). These quasi-judicial authorities are creatures of the statute and have wide powers under the Act, to inter alia grant reliefs of a specific nature and to award, wherever appropriate, compensation to consumers.
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Suits Against Foreign State Corporations – Is Sovereign Immunity Commercially Viable?

Background

In India, the concept of sovereign immunity or crown immunity as available to foreign states/rulers, is governed by Section 86 of the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908 (“CPC”). The legal doctrine essentially states that the sovereign or a foreign state cannot commit a legal wrong and is immune from a civil suit or criminal prosecution.

The doctrine is based on the legal maxim rex non potest peccare which means the king can do no wrong and is based on a common law governed by British jurisprudence. India also follows another principle which states, par in parem non habet imperium, which means one sovereign state is not subject to jurisdiction of another state.

Even while Indian law affords such protection to foreign state actors, Indian courts, in order to not let genuine claims be defeated, have been narrowing the scope of sovereign immunity, and have restricted the same. The principle of sovereign immunity covers the entire judicial process, from the institution of proceedings up to the stage of orders and decisions passed by a court as well as their execution.
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