When you buy any commodity, you will find certain details given on the packing. These details are about ingredients used, price, batch number, date of manufacture, expiry date, and the address of the manufacturer. These details are information about goods and services.
When we buy medicines, on the packets, you might find ‘directions for proper use and information relating to side effects and risks associated with usage of that medicine. When you buy garments, you will find information on ‘instructions for washing’.
Why is it that rules have been made so that the manufacturer displays this information? It is because consumers have the right to be informed about the particulars of goods and services that they purchase. Consumers can then complain and ask for compensation or replacement if the product proves to be defective in any manner.
For example, if we buy a product and find it defective well within the expiry period, we can ask for a replacement. If the expiry period was not printed, the manufacturer would blame the shopkeeper and will not accept the responsibility. If people sell medicines that have expired severe action can be taken against them. Similarly, one can protest and complain if someone sells a good at more than the printed price on the packet. This is indicated by ‘MRP’ — maximum retail price.
In fact, consumers can bargain with the seller to sell at less than the MRP In recent times, the right to information about goods and services has been expanded to cover various services provided by the Government. In October 2005, the Government of India enacted a law, popularly known as the RTI (Right to Information) Act, which ensures its citizens all the information about the functions of government departments. The effect of the RTI Act can be understood from the following case.
Mohan, a resident of Vilaspur was unhappy with the cleanliness around his locality. He had repeatedly requested the local authorities to take care of this, however, no action was taken, as various authorities keep passing on their responsibility to the other. He, therefore, filed an application using the RTI Act to find out, who was responsible for the cleanliness of their area. He immediately got the reply, and in fact, swift action was taken to remove the garbage from his locality.