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Consumer Protection Act and Medical Profession

Consumer Protection Councils

The Act provides for the establishment of -

(1) The Central Consumer Protection Council ( The Central Council).

(2) The State Consumer Protection Council ( The State Council).

Objectives of the Council shall be: To promote and protect the rights of the consumers such as ,

1. the right to be protected against the marketing of services which are hazardous to life and property ;

2. the right to be informed about the quality, quantity, potency, purity, standard and price of services so as to protect the consumer against unfair trade practices ;

3. the right to be assured, whenever possible, access to a variety of services at competitive prices ;

4. the right to be heard and to be assured that consumerís interests will receive due consideration at appropriate forums ;

5. the right to seek redressal against unfair trade practices or restrictive trade practices or unscrupulous exploitation of consumers ; and

6. the right to consumer education.

The Central Council shall consist of 150 members. The Minister In Charge of the Consumer Affairs in the Central Government shall be its Chairman. The State Council shall be chaired by Minister Incharge of Consumer Affairs in the State Government. The resolution passed by these Councils shall be recommendatory in nature.

The Future

Recently, the Central Consumer Protection Council sought some amendments in the Consumer Protection Act to cover the existing lacunas. One of the sweeping changes proposed was to bring in medical and health services offered by the government within the ambit of Consumer Protection Act. Minister of State for Civil Supplies Shri Kamaluddin Ahmed said in the Lok Sabha on April 10,1992, that entire goods and services, including health services are proposed to be brought under the Consumer Protection Act , 1986 and these will be brought before the Parliament in the next session. But on the issue of bringing in medical and health services offered by the Government under the umbrella of C.P. Act, Shri Sathi Nair, Joint Secretary in the Consumer Affairs Ministry said : " We are not publishing this amendment through immediately because the Health Ministry says its hospitals are already overcrowded, and lack in infrastructure, finance and drugs. It may bring the services to a grinding halt". The Consumer Protection ( Amendment ) Act, 1993 has since been passed by the Parliament in the Monsoon Session, without bringing into its ambit Govt. health services.

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