Read the following passage carefully and answer the questions given below it. Certain words/phrases in the passage are printed in bold to help you locate them while answering some of the questions.
In a country where consumers have traditionally had a raw deal, the Consumer Protection Act was one of the most progressive acts of legislation introduced in 1986. Before this, a shop could get away easily with the line “goods once sold will not be taken back or exchanged” or a car parking contractor with “park at your own risk”. It is not that things have changed now but at least a legislation is in place and a forum is available to seek redressal . One of the basic limitations of this act is its mystification and general ignorance. No consumer agency or group has made its provisions general, nor has any redressal commission or forum. Restricted as it is by a lack of in frastructure and personnel and great verdicts to encourage consumers. The legislation is comprehensive. It gives consumers the right to redress against defective goods, deficient services and unfair trade practices. Consumer courts must deliver their judgements within 40 days, but rarely is this deadline adhered to. This reviewer had a first-hand experience of the chairman of a consumer court in Delhi who adjourned a case against a foreign airline for two years on the grounds that he did not have staff to type the orders. His replacement found the backlog so shocking that he dismissed several cases without applying his mind, in the process working against the interests of consumers. But what is more important is that the law has it that a consumer can approach court on his own without having to pay legal fees. In practice, this does not happen. The chairperson of the National Commission, who is a sitting judge, is so attuned to delivering judgments which can stand scrutiny in a civil court of law that it is insisted upon that a consumer must be represented by a lawyer. If not, cases are adjourned with impunity and set for another day. Girimaji’s attempt is creditable in that it is the first of its kind and has addressed almost all possible angles. She has discussed redressals in complaints about housing, basic telephony, rail transportation, power supply, life insurance and medical negligence. There are even tips on how to file a complaint. But it is mired in the case files of the National/ State Commissions of the Consumer Forum. A useful dimension would have been a comparison with the Law of Torts practised abroad. It is necessary here also, especially in an era of economic liberalisation, when the consumer is like ly to be swept off his feet by free-market forces.
What does the Act broadly cover?