Consumer Protection Act was introduced in 1986 to protect the interests of consumers and to check their exploitation from producers and sellers.
Under Consumer Protection Act – 1986, Consumer Forums have been constituted at district, state and national levels.
This Act has come into force from July 1, 1987 in all parts of the country except Jammu and Kashmir, J & K has introduced its own Act for consumer protection. COPRA-1986 was amended in 1993.
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The Supreme Court of India in its important decision has brought medical services under the purview of COPRA. The Supreme Court has classified medical services into three categories:
- Such centers where free medical services are provided.
- Such centers where medical services are provided to all on payment.
- Such centers where free medical services are provided to some people and some are provided on payment.
The first category of above list is exempted from COPRA while the remaining two types of medical services have been brought under the purview of COPRA.
On February 29, 1996 a Trial Court of Calcutta High Court declared COPRA as ultra-vires and cancelled its operation on the writ petitions filed by Pearless General Finance and Investment Company and Calcutta State Electricity Supply Co. Limited (CESC).
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Justice Ajay Nath Roy declared this act as ultra-vires of the constitution and cancelled it. As a result, hearings on various petitions with all the Consumer forums in the country came to a stop.
The Union Government filed a petition against the decision of this Trial Court. The division bench of Justice S. K. Mukherjee and Justice R. Bhattacharya of Calcutta High Court cancelled the order of trial court and as a result COPRA again came into force with an immediate effect.