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16 J. Consumer Pol'y 1 (1993)

handle is hein.journals/jrncpy16 and id is 1 raw text is: Gurjeet Singh
Business Self-Regulation and Consumer
Protection in India: A Critique
ABSTRACT. In India, as a result of the enactment and implementation of the Consumer
Protection Act, 1986 there has been an increased amount of self-regulation by the
public as well as by the private corporate sector. The mounting pressure by consumer
organisations and the growing number of cases filed by consumers before the three-
tier quasi-judicial Consumer Disputes Redressal Agencies established under the 1986
Act have propelled the corporate sector in India to become more socially account-
able then ever before. Though it may be too early to comment on the success or
failure of this Act, it has nevertheless initiated a process of change at least in the
behaviour of the urban business community and has coerced it to regulate itself.
The paper purports to highlight and evaluate the present state of business
self-regulation in India. The author has critically examined the Codes of Ethics
recently announced by some sections of the business community in India. He has
also endeavoured to cite a few recent cases argued before the Consumer Forums,
more particularly by the consumers' associations, where instead of resorting to
protracted legal battles, industry has reconciled itself to consumers' demands. Thus the
central theme of the paper is to show how the 1986 Act has propelled the corporate
sector to resort to self-regulation and to critically examine this new development.
The author concludingly argues that in order to achieve the much-cherished goal of
social change in India, much still remains to be accomplished and that there is a
need for a co-ordinated approach to solve the problem of consumer protection as
law alone may not be effective.
In the year 1986, two major pieces of legislation were passed in India:
The Consumer Protection Act, 1986' (Act 68 of 1986) and the
Environment Protection Act, 1986 (Act 29 of 1986). Besides the enact-
ment of these two statutes, some of the existing legislation concerning
consumer protection was also amended in the same year, apparently
with the major object of promoting and protecting consumer inter-
ests and consolidating the newly emerging consumer jurisprudence
in India.2
The enactment of the Consumer Protection Act, 1986, in partic-
ular, has brought the topic of consumer protection once again to the
forefront. The Act is a beneficent piece of socio-economic legislation.3
It appears to be one of the most revolutionary statutes ever passed
by the legislature in India to provide, a cheap and speedy remedy
to the aggrieved consumers by way of an alternative to the time

Journal of Consumer Policy 16: 1-33, 1993.
© 1993 Kluwer Academic Publishers. Printed in the Netherlands.

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