The Consumer Protection Act of 1986 defines consumer law in India. This legislation helps to protect consumers from any kind of exploitation by availing the means for hearing and considering and finally settling disputes. This Act also stipulates the goods and service providers' responsibilities. In the year 1987, the provisions of this Act became binding legally.
To lessen the time period taken to sort out consumer disputes, the Act permits the creation of quasi-judicial bodies to be formed at district level, state as well as central government levels. There are at present 604 District Forums along with 34 State Commissions, with the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission functioning at the final level. India boosts itself to be the only country having specific courts for hearing consumer grievances as per the CUTS Centre for Consumer Action Research and Training.
Consumer means any person who buys goods or hires services for a consideration which has been paid or promised to be paid, partly or fully. The consumer however does not include a person who obtains such goods for resale or for any commercial purpose. Consumer laws are contained in the Consumer Protection Act, 1986. The Act aims to provide protection to the interests of the consumer, as also the settlement of Consumers' disputes and the matters incidental to the consumer disputes. The Act is envisaged to promote and protect the following rights of the consumers:-