Flashback 2015: Maggi, real-estate law dominates consumer issues

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New Delhi, Dec 29: The motto "consumer is the king" took a beating with Parliament blocking the passage of a law aimed at protecting home buyers from builder mafia in 2015 which also saw popular snacks Maggi out of the shelves and its maker Nestle being slapped with Rs 640-crore class action lawsuit by the Centre before the apex consumer forum.

The controversy and confusion created by the ban on the instant noodles saw the Centre, for the first time in the history of the 30-year-old Consumer Protection Act, using it against the multi-national for alleged unfair trade practice.

Maggi

The NCDRC, the apex consumer body, admitted the lawsuit and while the results of the samples were awaited, Nestle cried foul over the staggering proceedings and knocked the doors of the Supreme Court which in the fag end of the year stayed the proceedings before the top consumer fora.

Nestle faced stiff opposition from Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) which moved the apex court against the Bombay High Court order allowing Maggi to be brought to the shelves.

Campaigns like "Jago Grahak Jago" seemed to be catching up with the consumers and their effort for a law for protection from the money and muscle power of real estate mafia almost came to be realised but the last minute hurdle in Parliament stopped the amended Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Bill, 2015 from turning it into a reality.

The complaints of violation against real estate majors like Supertech, DLF, Unitech and others not only reached the consumer fora but also to the apex court which stood by the home buyers who have put their hard earned money in their ventures.

The apex consumer court also took strong note of "unfair trade practice" of airlines companies in advertising airfares at "throwaway prices, ranging from Rs 0 to 999" while actually providing them to the passengers at much higher prices.

In its order, NCDRC directed the airline companies to "refrain from issuing advertisements which don't even disclose even the minimum total amount payable by a passenger on any sector of the said carrier" and also directed the Ministry of Civil Aviation and Director General of Civil Aviation to issue guidelines to ensure strict compliance of the judgment by all airlines. 

PTI

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