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Consumer Protection Act 1986 (COPRA)


The right to every Indian citizen to have education on matters regarding consumer protection is provided by the ‘Consumer Protection Act 1986’. The consumers need to become aware of their rights and make informed decisions and choices while purchasing a product or a service. The Consumer Protection Act 1986 provides for a three-tier quasi judicial system at the district, state and national levels. This was set up to provide redressal of the consumers’ disputes. The district level court deals with cases where the claims are to the extent of upto rupees twenty lakhs, in a state level court the claims are between rupees twenty lakhs and one crore. The national level courts can deal with cases where the claim exceeds rupees one crore. Moreover, if a case is dismissed at the district level court, the consumer has the right to appeal to the state level court and, if necessary, in the national level courts. This act has enabled a consumer to the right to represent in a consumer court.

Further, the ‘Right to Information Act, 2005’, by the Government of India has enabled the citizens to seek information about the functions of the various government departments.


‘National Consumer’s Day’ is celebrated on 24 December every year. On this day, the Consumer Protection Act 1986, was passed by the Union Parliament of India. India is one of the countries which have exclusive courts for consumer redressal. There are more than 700 consumer groups in India today, of which about 20–25 are well-organised and recognised for their work.

However, the process of consumer redressal is very expensive and time-consuming. In many instances legal help needs to be sought from lawyers. In cases when cash memos are not issued, or the products were purchased from small retail stores, it becomes difficult and time-consuming to obtain the relevant evidences to be produced in the courts.

In India, to ensure the quality of the products purchased, the consumers must check for the standard marks such as ISI mark, Agmark (for food products), Hallmark (used for jewellery), etc. Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) is responsible for the standards of industries and the quality of the products. The International Organisation for Standardization (ISO) is a non-government organisation which certifies the specific level of stand to companies, goods and institutions.


Consumer rights and protection movements at the international level had been initiated by the United Nations in 1985 when it adopted the UN guidelines for consumer protection. At present, Consumers International has become an apex body of 240 organisations spread over 100 nations.

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