Divishi Arora – Jnr. Associate Editor
1. THE EPIDEMIC DISEASE ACT History and Need of the Epidemic Act
Around September 1896, one instance of Bubonic Plague was detected in Mandvi (at that point in Bombay Presidency) presently in Gujarat. Bombay Presidency was and still, after all that one of the most thickly populated territories because of the fast development of business there. The plague pandemic spread quickly because of a steady inflow of populace; legend has it that there were very nearly 1900 announced deaths every week during the spread of the scourge. India, at that point under the standard of Queen and British Parliament, needed to act quickly to keep the plague from spreading to rest of India. It was then that the Epidemic Disease Act 1897 was enacted by the British Parliament to control in the spread of the plague.
Special Provisions of the Epidemic Act
The Epidemic Act comprises of an absolute four sections, which are changed chance to time as and when required. The significant provisions of the Act are as under: Section 2 of the Act furnishes with the special provisions for guidelines to be imposed by the government at the hour of any hazardous pandemic disease.
This provision offers power to the State Government if it is fulfilled that any aspect of the state is influenced by or threatened to be affected by a flare-up of any risky epidemic disease and if the government feels that there are no measures in the customary provisions of law to manage the said pestilence, the State Government may take following measures for the shield of general society everywhere which will be transitory to forestall the outbreak of such an ailment: · To assess the individual voyaging, · Isolation of individuals associated with being determined to have the infection in the medical clinic, or impermanent facilities or something else. Section 2A empowers the Central Government to examine ships and vessels leaving or showing up in the regions of India and enables the government to detain such vessels whenever required. Section 3 furnishes with the punishments for disobeying the guidelines made by the legislature under Section 2 and 2A. The punishment for such defiance will be equivalent to Section 188 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC). Section 188 of IPC accommodates for a minimum punishment of one month and maximum for 6 months or potentially fine of Rs.1000/ - shall be imposed to the individual who is infringing upon the regulations/notice of the government. Section 4 protects the government and its representatives and officials from any indictment, civil or criminal, for doing anything following good faith.
Constraints/Limitations of the Act as of Today
I. The Act is over 120 years of age, enacted by the then British Parliament to check a circumstance that emerged distinctly in one part of undivided India, for example, the Bombay Presidency. The motive of the British Parliament behind this act can be questioned for a straightforward explanation that, the Act was abused by the British officials to capture and keep public social affairs drove by the freedom fighters.
II. The object of the Epidemic Act is more for the anticipation of the spread of the disease not to check or annihilate the disease which has begun to spread. The Act doesn't characterize the term epidemic or disease. The Act doesn't give explicit measures or bearings to the government to follow at the hour of a pandemic. The Act essentially engages to endorse general brief notification/guidelines if it imagines that the pandemic can't be constrained by the current laws of the land.
III. The Epidemic Act doesn't give any rules for arrangement of an extraordinary panel or a disaster management team which can follow up on the crisis in a recommended and prudent way without trusting that the state government will act in the wake of thinking about different components of the state.
IV. The Act doesn't give measures to disconnection of the speculated patients and isolation centres. There ought to be provision guiding the state governments to fabricate isolation centres in all hospitals and housing societies to be utilized as isolation centres at the hour of pestilence.
V. The Act is quite concerning how the vaccines and medications can be circulated by the administration. As the Act is quiet on every one of these angles it leaves no ground for the general population everywhere to consider the government answerable for any sort of carelessness concerning the government in the court of law as there is no legitimate component on which the government can follow up on. The provisions give the freedom to the State Government to recommend impermanent guidelines which can be a greater amount of experimentation instead of being thorough and rigorous measures to control the epidemic.
The Act vis-a-vis COVID-19
Numerous states and union territories including Maharashtra, Punjab, Gujarat, Assam, and Delhi have given notification under the provisions of the Epidemic Act. The states even in the wake of imposing certain limitations under this Act are battling with the seclusion of individuals and stemming the spread of the disease as there are no particular provisions in the Act which can direct the State Governments to act in an endorsed way at the hour of emergencies during the spread of pestilence.
The Act is over extremely old when the associations like World Health Originations and United Nations were not built up. The Act lingers behind in executing the rules given, by these starts, over and over. In India, there are a few laws established by the Parliament on general wellbeing which are not tended to under one single order or law. It is the need of great importance for the council to correct the extremely old law to be prepared for any sort of plague. Public Health Bill 2009 is as yet forthcoming to be instituted. The National Health Bill, which, whenever established can have an extremely constructive outcome to take suitable measures during the hour of the epidemic. With COVID-19 emergency of today, our legislature ought to consider and comprehend the troubles looked by the government today and likewise authorize and enact another and successful legislation. 2. THE CONSUMER PROTECTION ACT, 2019
The Consumer Protection Bill, 2019
The Consumer Protection Bill, 2019 has been passed by the Lok Sabha on Jul 30, 2019, and Rajya Sabha passed on Aug 06, 2019. This bill was presented in the parliament by the Minister of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution, Mr Ram Vilas Paswan.
Meaning of Consumer Protection Act, 2019:
Consumer Protection Act, 2019 is a law to secure the interests of the consumers/purchasers. This act was inescapable to determine countless forthcoming customer grumblings in consumer courts the nation over. It has available resources to comprehend the consumer’s complaints quickly.
Aim of the Consumer Protection Act:
The fundamental aim of the Consumer Protection Act, 2019 is to spare the privileges of the buyers by building up experts for convenient and viable organization and settlement of consumers' disputes and questions.
Definition of the customer:
According to the act; an individual is known as a customer who avails the services and purchases any good for self-use. Worth to refer to that if an individual purchase any good and avails any service for resale or business object, isn't viewed as a consumer. This definition covers a wide range of exchanges and transactions i.e. online and offline.
Key highlights of the Consumer Protection Act, 2019
1. Foundation of the Central Consumer Protection Authority (CCPA):
The act has the arrangement of the Establishment of the CCPA which will secure, advance and authorize the rights of consumers. The CCPA will control cases identified with unjustifiable exchange practices, misdirecting ads, and infringement of purchaser rights. The CCPA will reserve the rights to impose punishment or penalty on the violators and passing orders to recall goods or withdraw services, end of the unfair trade practices and repayment of the cost paid by the buyers. The Central Consumer Protection Authority will have an examination wing to enquire and explore such infringement. The CCPA will be going by the Director-General.
2. Rights of Consumers:
The act gives 6 rights to the consumers; I. To has data about the amount, quality, immaculateness, intensity, cost, and standard of goods and services. ii. To be shielded from unsafe products. iii. To be protected from unfair or restrictive trade practices. iv. To have an assortment of goods or services at competitive prices.
3. Prohibition and penalty for a misleading advertisement:
The Central Consumer Protection Authority (CCPA) will have the ability to impose fines on the endorser or producer as long as 2-year detainment for misdirecting or bogus ad (Like Laxmi Dhan Warsha Yantra). Worth to refer to that repeated offence may pull in a fine of Rs 50 lakh and detainment of as long as 5 years.
4. Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission:
The act has the provision of the Consumer Disputes Redressal Commissions (CDRCs) at the national, state and local levels. The CDRCs will engage objections identified with; I. Overcharging or beguiling charging ii. Unfair or prohibitive trade practices iii. Sale of hazardous goods and services which might be dangerous to life. iv. Sale of defective goods and services.
Jurisdiction under the Consumer Protection Act, 2019
This act has characterized the standard of Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (CDRCs). The National CDRC will hear complaints worth more than Rs. 10 crores. The State CDRC will hear complaints when the worth is more than Rs 1 Crore however not as much as Rs 10 Crore. While the District CDRC will entertain complaints where the estimation of goods and service is up to Rs 1 Crore. Taking everything into account, certain key changes have been brought by the 2019 Act, i.e.
Territorial Jurisdiction – The 2019 Act currently gives an additional favourable position to the customers by accommodating recording of grievances where the complainant resides or personally works for gain as against the 1986 Act which just accommodates filing of complaint where the contrary party lives or carries on business. This would help in eliminating the troubles faced by the customers in looking for Redressal of their complaints against organizations who might not have an office or branch in their state.
Pecuniary Jurisdiction – The 2019 Act likewise changed the pecuniary jurisdiction for the District, State and National Commissions, individually. As far as possible for the District Commission has been expanded to up to Rs.1 Crore from up to Rs.20 Lakhs; for State Commission, it has been expanded to up to Rs.10 Crores from up to Rs.1 Crore, and for National Commission, the monetary locale has been expanded too far beyond Rs.10 Crores as against Rs.1 Crore in the 1986 Act.
Likewise, the 2019 Act has additionally changed the way for deciding the pecuniary jurisdiction for recording the Complaint. Presently the pecuniary jurisdiction will be determined based upon the value of goods and service paid as consideration as against the 1986 Act wherein, the pecuniary jurisdiction was resolved according to the estimation of products and enterprises just as compensation asserted. This would help in doing away the act of blowing up the remuneration guaranteed to bring the complaints inside the purview of State or National Commission.
Alternate Dispute Resolution – Another arrangement acquainted by the 2019 Act to ensure speedy resolution of disputes is to accommodate implying the disputes to intervention. According to the 2019 Act, the Consumer Forum will imply the issue to intercession on composed assent of both the party. For this reason, the 2019 Act additionally accommodates the foundation of a consumer mediation cell by the State Governments in each District Commission and State Commission as well as at the National Commission by the Central Government.
E-Complaints - The 2019 Act additionally accommodates recording of Complaints before the District Forums electronically as per the guidelines which are yet to be recommended by the Government.
 Hemant Singh, "The Consumer Protection Act, 2019" <https://www.jagranjosh.com/general-knowledge/meaning-and-features-of-consumer-protection-act-2019-1578557665-1>Accessed on 20 September 2020  Shipra Singh “ How consumers will benefit under the new consumer protection act” <https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/wealth/spend/heres-how-consumers-will-benefit-under-the-new-consumer-protection-act/articleshow/70711304.cms?from=mdr>Accessed on 21 September 2020
 Kanth & Associates "The Consumer Protection Act, 2019" <https://www.mondaq.com/india/dodd-frank-consumer-protection-act/876600/the-consumer-protection-act-2019-an-overview>Accessed on 20 September 2020
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Legit Originals: Volume 1, Issue 1(October 2020)
Happy to announce that, Legit by Internationalism, The Magazine on Legal Theory by Internationalism, is featured in the Top 100 Legal Blogs of India and hold the rank 56, by Feedspot.
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