Adv. Shirish V. Deshpande
Mumbai Grahak Panchayat
UN Guidelines recognize following 8 consumer
rights :
• Right to Basic Needs
• Right to Safety
• Right to Information
• Right to Choice
• Right to Representation
• Right to Redressal
• Right to Consumer Education
• Right to Healthy Environment
What does Right to Representation
mean to Common Man?
• The right to be heard and to be assured that consumers’ interest will
receive due consideration at appropriate forums.
• The Right to Representation is the right which the consumers can assert in
a collective or representative manner or even in an individual capacity.
• This Right has application at Macro and Micro level.
How far Right to Representation
Has Succeeded in India?
• India, one of the first countries to adopt UN Guidelines.
• CPA enacted in 1986 recognized Right to Representation.
• CPA created Consumer Protection Councils at District, State &
National levels for promoting and protecting consumer rights.
Role of Consumer Protection Councils
• Provides platform to assert consumer grievances in presence
of service providers, manufacturers / producers and govt.
officials / minister.
• Can lead to change in policies, formulation of new consumer
oriented policies or decisions.
• Can lead to grievance redressal
• Can lead to system correction
Consumer Courts &
Right to Representation
• Opportunity for consumer activists to be
appointed on Forum / Commissions.
• Opportunity to represent consumers before
Consumer Courts.
• One consumer can represent numerous
Right to Representation
under Electricity Act 2003
• Representation to consumer groups on CERC
• Representation to consumer groups on SERCs
• Representation to consumer rep on CGRF
Right to Representation in
Telecom Sector
• TRAI issues consultation papers and invites suggestions /
objections from stake holders
• Several consumer groups actively participate in consultation
process and make their voice heard
• Recent decision of TRAI to restrict TV ad duration is proof of
successful consumer representation
• Only 23 % consumers surveyed aware about
process of consultation or consumer
• Only 28 % of such consumers participated in
public hearing / consultation
• Comparatively western and southern India has
higher level of awareness
• In rural areas, awareness was as low as 18 %
Hurdles in Consumer Representation
• Lack of Consumer Awareness
• Lack of funding
• Lack of expertise
• Lack of training facilities
Effective Consumer Representation
A Way Forward
• Consumer groups to focus on specific areas / issues
• To ensure adequate training for consumer representation
• To ensure adequate “Consumer Funding” for consumer groups by
amending policies / laws
• Consumer bodies to share and pool know-how and expertise
Effective Consumer Representation
A Way Forward (contd.)
• Make concerted efforts to activate Consumer Protection
Councils at District, State and National level
• Make changes in CPA to ensure speedy, simple and
inexpensive redressal of consumer complaints
• Create wide spread consumer awareness for their active
Thank You