The Gujarat High Court on Tuesday issued notices on a PIL seeking enforcement of the consumer's right to be informed about the place (country) of manufacturing of all products sold through web portals/ e-commerce platforms.
A division bench comprised by Chief Justice and Justice J B Pardiwala issued notices to the Union of India and other Respondents, including Ministry of Information and Broadcasting and Ministry of Consumer Affairs, returnable on July 29.
The Petitioner, Advocate Yatin Soni, seeks inter alia, a direction upon the Government to legislate or impose restriction on sale of such products that do not mention the place of manufacturing, and the country where the manufacturing company is based.
The plea has been filed in the backdrop of Government's latest policy- "Atmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan", that proposes to support indigenously produced goods for a sustained economy. It states,
"It has been observed that the web portals and/or Mobile applications of the E-commerce platforms do not state the "Place of Manufacturing and the country where the company manufacturing the product is based "conspicuously" which makes it difficult and/or impossible for the prospective consumer of the product to know about the country/place of manufacturing of the product which he/she intends to purchase. It also becomes difficult and/or impossible to know if the company manufacturing the product is based in India or in a foreign country or if the majority shareholding of the company selling the product on the E-Commerce platform is of a parent company outside India."
"It is only when the product is delivered to the customer that the customer comes to know that the product is either made in India or in a country which is not in the list of his/her preferences. It also happens that large number of people purchase the product online, and when they get the delivery of the said product, to their utter surprise, they do not find that products contain the name of the company who and where it has manufactured the said product."
Every citizen has a "fundamental right to know" the name of the company and the country/ place where the product has been manufactured, the Petitioner has argued. It is further averred that every consumer has the right to consumer awareness under Section 2(9)(vi) of the Consumer Protection Act, 2019.
The Petitioner has therefore sought a direction upon the Respondents to enact a law by imposing strict restrictions/ regulations and to take immediate steps to ensure that all web portals/ E-Commerce platforms invariably mention the following along with other product details:
The Petitioner has also suggested that the government should assign particular symbols/ colours to products so that illiterate or semi-literate persons get immediate information about the type of product and category of goods manufactured.
Case Title: Yatin Sureshbhai Soni v. Union of India & Ors.
Case No.: WP PIL No. 102/2020
Quorum: Chief Justice and Justice J B Pardiwala
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