In an earlier post here, we discussed the rights available to a consumer under the Consumer Protection Act,1986. The Consumer Protection Act,1986 largely provides for a long list of rights of the consumers. this post, we shall discuss about the Consumer Welfare Fund.
1. Central Excises And Salt Act, 1944 –
The Central Excises And Salt Act, 1944 and Consumer Welfare Fund Rules, 1992 regulate the establishment and management of the Consumer Welfare Fund as follows-
Section 2 (k), The Central Excises And Salt Act, 1944 defines “Welfare of the Consumers” to include the promotion and protection of rights of consumers.
Section 12 C, The Central Excises and Salt Act, 1944 provides that the Consumer Welfare Fund shall be established by the Central Government a fund. There shall be credited to the Fund, in such manner as may be prescribed-
(a) the amount of duty of excise referred to in section 11B (2) or section 11C (2) or section 11D (2)
(b) the amount of duty of customs referred to in section 27(2) or section 28A(2), or section 28B(2) of the Customs Act, 1962 ;
(c) any income from the investment of the amount credited to the Fund and any other monies received by the Central Government for the purposes of this Fund.
Section 12D provides that any money credited to the Fund shall be utilised by the Central Government for the welfare of the consumers in accordance with such rules as that Government may make in this behalf.
Rule 2(b), Consumer Welfare Fund Rules, 1992 defines an applicant as –
- any agency/ organization engaged in consumer welfare activities for a period of three years registered under the Companies Act, 1956 (1 of 1956) or under any other law for the time being in force, including village/mandal/Samiti level cooperatives of consumers especially Women, Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes, or
- any industry as defined in the Industrial Disputes Act, 1947 (14 of 1947) recommended by the Bureau to be engaged for a period of five years in viable and useful research activity which has made, or is likely to make, significant contribution in the formulation of standard mark of the products of mass consumption, or
- State Government, and
- includes a consumer for the purpose of reimbursing legal expenses as referred to in clause (d) of rule 8 of these rules.
2. Central Goods and Services Tax Act, 2017 –
Section 57 provides that The Government shall constitute a Fund, to be called the Consumer Welfare Fund and there shall be credited to the Fund,—
(a) the amount referred to in section 54(5) (refund of any tax and interest, if any, paid on such tax or any other amount paid by any person) ;
(b) any income from investment of the amount credited to the Fund; and
(c) such other monies received by it,
in such manner as may be prescribed.
Section 58 provides that all sums credited to the Fund shall be utilised by the Government for the welfare of the consumers in such manner as may be prescribed. The Government or the authority specified by it shall maintain proper and separate account and other relevant records in relation to the Fund and prepare an annual statement of accounts in such form as may be prescribed in consultation with the Comptroller and Auditor-General of India.
Central Excises And Salt Act, 1944 and Central Goods and Services Tax Act, 2017 effectively provide for the establishment of the Consumer Welfare Fund for the promotion of the rights of the consumers. These two legislations along with the Consumer Protection Act,1986 constitute the framework for the rights of the consumers in India.
Image from here