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To Analyze The Scope of the term Consumer

Basis of development of the term ´┐ŻConsumer´┐Ż

Inspite of the plenitude of law, to check the supply of inferior quality of goods, rate of profit incurred by the sellers and industry and to ensure to take care of the customers couldn´┐Żt be achieved. During the 80´┐Żs the situation was quite complicated as to it was the period when demand was exponentially greater than supply as a result the consumers were neglected. It was the period of seller´┐Żs market comparatively an opposite scenario of West and Japan as there was lack of marketing as it was the consumer that kept coming to the seller. In India consumers were left with no choice as they had to buy what was offered and alternative were available even if the price was high compared to quality which was not the situation in other free countries. It was majorly due to India being an infant democracy at the time.

In India the due to the imbalance in the demand and supply in the market, led to a situation where there was rarely a scope to pay attention to the buyer(customer) even when it was a matter of rendering a paid service or regarding repair and replacement for a faulty purchase. These mishaps of the situation led the buyer (customer) feeling helpless as to them seeking aid from law seemed like a huge load on money, time and more complexities. This human suffering led to the awakening of the government which finally enacted and enforced Consumer Protection Act (CPA),1986.

Purpose and Principle

The purpose of bringing CPA,1986 was to ensure to pay attention to the ignored consumers, provide protection and to solve disputes that takes place. The principle of Consumer Protection Act is: ´┐Ż provide protection to consumers not only of goods but also services that was supposed to be rendered; ´┐Ż to establish a suitable authority that will engage in settling disputes.

Consumer in light of Case Laws

In Anant Raj Agencies v. TELCO, I (1996) CPJ 268 (DELHI) , the company purchased a car that was used privately by the director. The car stopped working as it had serious defects. The complainant claimed a replacement or refund for the car. It was held that though the car was purchased by a company but it wasn´┐Żt used for commercial purpose rather was privately used by the director. Thus, the complainant was a consumer and the complaint was held admissible under Consumer Protection Act (CPA).

In Union of India v. Mrs. S. Prakash, it has been held that subscriber of a telephone is a consumer as rental charges paid to the Central Government as the consideration for the services provided by Tele-communication Department. Hence, the Consumer Forum has full authority to admit complaint on this matter.

Vikas Verkhedkar v. Narmada Electronics (P) Ltd., the complainant was employee of Narmada Electronics (P) Ltd. The employee was concerned with a Group Insurance Scheme of the respondent. The complainant met with an accident and lodged a complaint that he was not paid in full and therefore, claimed for the amount recovery. It was held that complainant was beneficiary and was a Consumer under Sec. 2(d) of CPA and the complaint is admissible.

Harjot Ahluwalia v. Spring Meadows Hospital, the complainant, that is, the parents were Consumer as well as the minor son because the minor suffered brain damage due to negligence of hospital, as being beneficiary of the services. The parents were too held to be Consumer since they have hired the services as per Sec 2(d) of CPA and can claim compensation for the damage caused to their son due to medical negligence.
Case Law defining ´┐Żnot Consumer´┐Ż

Sterling Computer Ltd. v P.R. Kutty, the complainant purchased a computer that was majorly used for commercial purpose. However, it was defective. The National Commission held that the complainant can´┐Żt claim for damages as he is not a consumer since he purchased for commercial purpose.
UCO Bank v. S.C. Mohanaty , held that loan applicant is not a consumer and if loan isn´┐Żt sanctioned by the bank, the applicant can´┐Żt file the complaint as a consumer.
Recent Amendment in the concept of Consumer

On 15th July, 2020 the Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public distribution notified to pass the Consumer Protection Bill,2019 to replace the long-existing Consumer Protection Act,1986. Majority provisions came into action on 20th July,2020. According to latest amendment, the foremost change was brought in the definition of Consumer. It defines Consumer as ´┐Ża person who buys any goods or hires any service for valuable consideration´┐Ż. ´┐ŻThe definition excludes any person who obtains the goods for resale or commercial purpose´┐Ż.

Relevance and Scope of term Consumer

Market manipulations and unfair trade practices have been received by the consumers from time immemorial. The current amendment deals with every issue that a consumer might face. This is probably a red signal to conman indulging in market practices that are unfair. CPA,2019 has shifted the load of accountability and care upon the sellers, manufacturers and service providers thereby assuring more power on the end of consumer. The act now has ensured a stringent law to protect the consumer from the neglect and low efficient service by the service provider or manufacturer. Thus, the consumer plays an integral party in shaping the economy as they consume goods and services directly or indirectly to maximise satisfaction and utility.

  • Consumer Protection Act, 1986.
  • URL:
  • Choudhary, Akash, Consumer Protection Act: History, Definition, Forums and Evaluation, Your Article Library. URL:
  • Consumer Protection Act, 2020 Notification
  • Anant Raj Agencies v. TELCO, I (1996) CPJ 268 (DELHI)
  • Union of India v. Mrs. S. Prakash; I (1991) CPR 307
  • Vikas Verkhedkar v. Narmada Electronics (P) Ltd.; II (1996) CPJ 469
  • Harjot Ahluwalia v. Spring Meadows Hospital; II (1997) CPJ 98 (N.C.)
  • Sterling Computer Ltd. v P.R. Kutty; I (1996) CPJ 118 (N.C.)
  • UCO Bank v. S.C. Mohanaty; (1996) CPJ 259

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