SUJIT DE , KOLKATA
Every year the World Consumer Rights Day is celebrated on March 15. Consumers International has announced the theme for World Consumer Rights Day 2019 as “Trusted Smart Products” to make us aware about the need for a connected world and “importance of the development of digital products and services.” The movement for consumer rights is for promoting basic rights of the consumer and for safeguarding consumers from the market abuse and social injustice. Given that we live in a sellers’ market and in the bubble of their fantasy advertisements, this day holds special importance. The World Consumer Rights day was inspired by the president of the United States of America, John F Kennedy. In 1962, he highlighted four consumer rights; Right to safety, Right to be informed, Right to choose and Right to be heard. Thereafter, four more rights added in 1980. They are, Right to redress, Right to satisfaction of basic needs, Right to consumer education and Right to a healthy environment. Indian consumers got their Consumers Protection Act in 1986. The Ministry of Consumer Affairs of the Government of India has been making consumers aware about their rights through the campaign “Jago Grakak Jago” (“Wake up Consumers”). Now, the question is; why must not Indian voters be treated as consumers? Why must not they be protected under the Consumers Protection Act? Consumers give their money to buy a product after believing what the manufacturer is saying about the product. If a consumer is cheated then the person can get protection under the Consumer Protection Act. Similarly, a voter should also be protected. A person gives her or his vote in favour of a political party after believing in the promises of that party. The promises are well documented in their manifesto. So, if a political party fails to deliver its promises after coming to power then the party needs to be penalised. As a matter of fact, the value of our vote is indeed more than money.