Major push by ECI for Enforcing due Compliances by Registered Unrecognized Political Parties (RUPPs)

Major push by ECI for Enforcing due Compliances by Registered Unrecognized Political Parties (RUPPs)


Graded Action to be initiated against more than 2100 RUPPs

66 RUPPs claimed IT exemption in FY20 without complying with statutory requirements under Section 29 C of RP Act, 1951; 2174 RUPPs have not submitted contribution report; Action to be initiated against those receiving donations without due statutory compliances

Action initiated against three RUPPs reported to be involved in Serious Financial Impropriety

87 Non-existent RUPPs shall be deleted from the list and benefits under the Symbols Order (1968) withdrawn

The Election Commission of India has initiated action for enforcing due compliances by Registered Unrecognized Political Parties (RUPPs) for relevant sections 29A and 29C of the RP Act 1951. The Commission is cognizant that compliance to the conditions and regulations in the said Act are essential conditions for maintaining financial discipline, propriety, public accountability, transparency and empowering voters for making informed decisions. In the absence of required compliance, the electorate and ECI are deprived of basic factual information in ensuring ECI’s mandate of conducting free, fair and transparent elections. The Commission has evidence of serious financial impropriety, willful attempts for tax evasion and other illegal financial activities against three specific Registered Unrecognized Political Parties (RUPPs) amounting to fraudulent use of privileges and public trust available to them.

There are 2796 Registered Unrecognized Political Parties (RUPP) as in September, 2021(https://eci.gov.in/files/file/13711-list-of-political-parties-symbol-main-notification- dated23092021/), which is an increase of over 300% since 2001. Every RUPP so registered is required to comply with the following rules/instructions and directions:

1. Section 29Cof RP Act 1951requires a RUPP to furnish a contribution report as prescribed in Form 24 A under Rule 85 B of Conduct of Election Rules 1961.Such contributions received by RUPPs are also 100%exempted from Income Tax as an incentive to the parties for strengthening the electoral democracy.


2. Section 29A(9) mandates every political party to communicate any change in its name, head office, office bearers, address, PAN number to the Commission without delay.


3. The political parties are mandated to also furnish Audited Annual Statements, flowing from ECI’s transparency guidelines dated 29/08/2014.Hon’ble Supreme Court in Common Cause vs. UoI & Others (AIR 1996 SC 3081) has upheld the requirement of maintaining audited accounts by the political parties as mandatory and to be strictly enforced. The political parties, therefore, are under a statutory obligation to furnish a return of income for each assessment year to be eligible for exemption from income-tax.


4. The Political Party, [for being registered, as a condition precedent prescribed by ECI under its power under section 29 A (6)] needs to undertake to include in its constitution that it must contest an election conducted by the Election Commission within 5 years of its registration.


5. Further, upon participation in an election, Political Parties are required to furnish their election expenditure statement within 75 days, in case of Assembly elections, and within 90 days, in case of Lok Sabha elections.

  • Out of 2354* RUPPs, over 92% RUPPs have not filed their Contribution Report in 2019
  • 199 RUPPs claimed Rs 445 Cr IT exemption in 2018-19
  • 219 RUPPs claimed Rs 608 Cr IT exemption in 2019-20. Out of these, 66 RUPPs have claimed income tax exemption without submitting contribution reports in Form 24A as mandated under section 29C of the Act.
  • 87RUPPs have been found to be not in existence
  • For the year 2019, 2056 RUPPs have not yet filed their Annual Audited Accounts.
  • In GE 2019, out of 2354 RUPPs only 623 contested elections⁓70% RUPPs did not contest elections**
  • Out of 115 RUPPs (headquartered in the 5 election gone States of Assam, Kerala, West Bengal, Tamil Nadu & UT Puducherry) and which contested Assembly elections of 2021, only 15 RUPPs have filed their Election Expenditure Statement till date.

*(https://eci.gov.in/files/file/9787-amendment-notificaiton-list-of-parties-and-symbols-english-dated-01042019/

**(https://eci.gov.in/files/category/1551-general-election-2019-including-vellore-pc/)

The Commission has noted with serious concern that out of total 2796 RUPPs, a large number are neither taking part in electoral process nor adhering to the one or several of the above requirements which is not only violative of statutory requirements but also defeats the purpose of clean electoral ecosystem. In view of the foregoing, the Commission, in discharge of its mandate of ensuring just, free, fair & transparent electoral process hereby directs the following corrective measures:

1. There are 87 RUPPs, whose address of communication, was statutorily required as registration requirement under section 29A(4).Any change in address was required to be communicated to the ECI under section 29A(9), which they have not complied. These RUPPs have been found to be non-existent after a physical verification carried out by the respective Chief Electoral Officers. The names of such non-existent RUPPs shall be deleted from the list of register of unrecognized registered political parties. Any party aggrieved from this, may approach the concerned Chief Electoral Officer/ Election Commission within 30 days of the issue of this direction along with all evidences of existence, other legal and regulatory compliances including year wise annual audited accounts, contribution report, expenditure report, updation of office bearers including authorized signatories for financial transactions (including bank account). The segregated list of such RUPPs shall be sent to respective CEOs and CBDT for requisite action under extant legal framework.

2. 87 such RUPPs, in absence of ensuring remedial measures listed above, render themselves liable to be not entitled to have benefits under the Symbols Order, 1968, including allocation of common symbol.

3. Three RUPPs which have been reported, prima facie to be involved in serious financial impropriety such as incriminating documents related to bogus donation receipts, formation of shell entities, bogus and non-genuine purchases, facilitating accommodation entries, etc., shall be proceeded against under the extant legal/regulatory regime including entitlement to avail the benefits of Symbols Order, 1968. A reference shall be sent to the Department of Revenue, who have reported misuse, for taking all necessary legal and criminal actions against 3 RUPPs, as appropriate under the extant legal framework.

4. It has been reported that income tax exemptions have been taken to the tune of Rs 445 crores in 2018-19 by 199 RUPPs and Rs 608 crores in 2019-20 by 219 RUPPs. Of these, 66 RUPPS have claimed income tax exemption without submitting contribution reports in Form 24A as mandated under section 29C of the Act.

In view of the fact that there are 2174 RUPPs, which have not submitted contribution reports, the list shall be sent to the Department of Revenue for taking all consequential action as per the RP Act 1951 read with the relevant provisions of the Income Tax Act, 1961 and other statutory/regulatory regime including not granting exemption / withdrawing exemption, if already granted/ examining liability of wrongly claiming exemption as the case may be.

5. 2056 RUPPs, which have failed to furnish Annual Audited Account of the concerned financial year, are indicative of gaps in vital financial information including bank account, PAN, authorized signatories pertaining to those RUPPs, statement of assets and liabilities, contributions received details of donors, expenditure, etc. Therefore, CEOs shall put the list of such RUPPS on their respective websites and afford an opportunity to such RUPPs to comply with extant legal and regulatory regime within 30 days. Non-compliance may make such RUPPs not entitled to have benefits under the Symbols Order, 1968, including allocation of common symbol.

6. 100 RUPPs, which have failed to furnish Election Expenditure Statements after the contest of election(s), have violated the directions of Election Commission. They may approach concerned Chief Electoral Officer with full facts within 30 days of the issue of this direction for remedial action, if any, to avoid any consequential action. 

7. All Chief Electoral Officers shall put this order on their websites for compliance and for affording an opportunity to anyone aggrieved by above action. Any RUPP aggrieved by any action under point 8.1 to 8.6 may approach concerned Chief Electoral Officer with full facts within 30 days of the issue of this direction with all evidences inter-alia including proof of existence, other legal and regulatory compliances made till now such as submission of year wise annual audited accounts, contribution report, expenditure report , if any, updation of office bearers including authorized signatories for financial transactions (including bank account) and operations under the Symbols Order 1968, etc.

Order No. 56/pol.parties/2021/PPS-III (Part)/Conf-2022 dated May 25, 2022 can be accessed on https://eci.gov.in/

Press Release dated 25 May 2022, Release Id :-1828251

Multiple Ways to establish Veracity of Aadhaar : UIDAI (Press release 04 May 2022)

The issue of how to verify the genuineness of an Aadhaar card is often faced by organizations, when they are presented to them as a proof of identities.

Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) has stated that the veracity of ‘Aadhaar’ can be easily established both in an online and offline mode as mentioned below:

  • Offline Mode- Every Aadhaar card /Aadhaar letter/e Aadhaar  has a Secure QR code printed on it, which contains demographic details( Name, Gender, Date of birth and address) as well as photograph of the Aadhaar number holder. Even if the Aadhaar card is tampered with by photo shopping another person’s photograph, the Information in the QR code is secure and tamper-proof as it is digitally signed by UIDAI.  The QR code can be read by “Aadhaar QR scanner” App available on Play Store and App Store.

UIDAI recommends verifying ‘Aadhaar’ as an additional check for residents, for instance, at the time of hiring an employee, domestic worker, driver or renting out to a tenant. The general public can also verify another person’s Aadhaar as a part of the background check at any point of time.

Recent Initiatives for Simplifying Aadhaar usage

Digital Identity plays an important role in development of society, both socially and financially. Ministries/Departments should utilize ‘Aadhaar’ as a foundation to achieve the goal of “saturation” i.e. to reach 100% beneficiaries. Aadhaar has proved to be one of the biggest innovations of the country.  Quite interestingly, Aadhaar has given identity to a large number of people who did not have any identity whatsoever earlier. It has bridged the digital divide, enabled e-KYC services, provided banking at the doorstep and at mobiles and facilitated cash transfer directly into the bank accounts of the needy and deserving recipients of various welfare schemes of the Government. The scale and facilities extended by Aadhaar are unheard of in entire world. Benefits of Aadhaar can be classified not only in monetary savings directly to the state but also the indirect benefits accrued in terms of modifying and stimulating responsible behaviour and digital experience of Aadhaar based identity in different sectors and states.

Various schemes like One Nation One Card are actively utilizing Aadhaar for digital authentication. Some encouraging examples like increased customer satisfaction at Fair price shops in Karnataka came to fore during the workshop. It was also deliberated during the discussions that security and privacy of resident data holds utmost importance and UIDAI should always endeavour to continue necessary measures to preserve the confidentiality, integrity & availability of same. A digital identity eco-system must support resident-centricity and allow consent-based framework for growth, scalability and ease of access to residents.

Multiple opportunities enabled by use of Aadhaar as a foundational identity in different sectors like Food Security, DBT, Scholarships, Fintech, Lending, Healthcare etc. various untapped sectors and gaps which can reap the potential of Digital Identity to reach the last mile of users and achieve universal inclusion, both social as well as financial with the cooperation of various Ministries/Departments of Government of India in order to fulfill the vision of ‘Ease of living’ for the residents.

Functioning of Aadhaar Ecosystem and good practices followed by central government ministries utilizing Aadhaar Platform, for instance, Faceless Transport Services (eTransport MMP), PDS, DBT Schemes, eSHRAM portal etc.

(Source: Ministry of Electronics & IT Press Release dated 22 April 2022)

India Post warns public against fraudulent URLs/Websites claiming to provide subsidies/prizes through certain surveys, quizzes (Press release 23 April 2022)

India Post over the recent days has been observing various URLs/Websites getting circulated in social media such as WhatsApp, Telegram, Instagram and through emails / SMS containing tiny URLs/ Short URLs, claiming to be providing Government Subsidies through certain surveys, quizzes.

We wish to inform the citizens of the Country that India Post is not involved in any such activities like announcing Subsidies, Bonus or Prizes based on Surveys etc. Public receiving such notifications/messages /emails are requested not to believe or respond to such fake and spurious messages or share any personal details.   It is also requested not share any personally identifiable information such as date of birth, Account numbers, mobile numbers, place of Birth & OTP etc.

India Post though is taking necessary action to prevent these URLs / links / Websites to be taken down through various prevention mechanisms. Public at large is once again requested not to believe or respond to any fake / spurious messages / communications / links.   

India Post and Fact Check Unit of Press Information Bureau (PIB) have declared these URLs/Websites as fake through social media.

नकली वेबसाइट ‘https://t.co/enD9FVZYad जैसे कई वेबसाइट भारतीय डाक पर लकी ड्रा करने का दावा कर रही है। भारतीय डाक/डाक विभाग का ऐसी गतिविधि से कोई लेना-देना नहीं है। ऐसी धोखाधड़ी गतिविधियों से सावधान रहें। pic.twitter.com/0UcHXQiIFH— India Post (@IndiaPostOffice) April 21, 2022

Multiple fake websites like ‘https://t.co/enD9FVZYad‘ claims to be running @indiapost_dop 170th anniversary lucky draw. India Post/Department of Posts has nothing to do with such scamming activity. Beware of such fraudulent activities.— India Post (@IndiaPostOffice) April 21, 2022

▶️ Neither the website nor the organisation is associated with the India Post.

▶️ Beware of such fake organisations and webpages.— India Post (@IndiaPostOffice) April 21, 2022

#FAKE lucky draw in the name of @IndiaPostOffice is viral on social media and is offering a chance to win ₹6,000 after seeking one’s personal details#PIBFactCheck

▶️It’s a scam & is not related with India Post

Join us on #Telegram for quick updates: https://t.co/zxufu1aRNO pic.twitter.com/FCPT3kGuRX— PIB Fact Check (@PIBFactCheck) April 22, 2022

Amendment In Easements Act, 1882 (Press release 04 April 2022)

As per available information, the ground water levels in certain parts of the country are declining because of continuous withdrawal necessitated by increased demand of fresh water for various uses, vagaries of rainfall, increased population, industrialization & urbanization etc, Certain provision of Easements Act 1882 may have contributed to over-extraction of groundwater in certain places vis-à-vis extraction of groundwater by the landowners for domestic and agricultural purposes.

Though water is a State subject, Central Government has taken a number of important measures for conservation, management of ground water including effective implementation of rain water harvesting in the country, which can be seen at

URL:http://jalshakti-dowr.gov.in/sites/default/files/Steps_to_control_water_depletion_Feb2021.pdf

Central Ground Water Authority (CGWA) has been constituted under the ‘Environment (Protection) Act, 1986’ for the purpose of regulation and control of ground water extraction. The Department of Water Resources, River Development & Ganga Rejuvenation has issued latest guidelines for regulation and control of groundwater extraction on 24 Sept. 2020. These guidelines advocate a participatory approach for sustainable ground water management in agriculture sector including working towards crop rotation, diversification & other initiatives to reduce over-dependence on groundwater. CGWA is regulating ground water in 20 states/UTs and in remaining States/UTs, regulation is being carried out by respective State Governments/UT Administration.

This Information was given by the Minister of State for Jal Shakti, Shri Bishweswar Tudu in a written  reply in Rajya Sabha today.

Guidelines for Fire and Safety Audit

The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC) and the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) had prepared an “Integrated Guidance Framework for Chemicals Safety in Respect of the Isolated Storages and Industries Covered Under Manufacture, Storage and Import of Hazardous Chemicals (MSIHC) Rules, 1989” in compliance with the directions of the Hon’ble Green Tribunal dated 11.06.2021 in the matter of Original Application no. 60/2021. The framework covers chemical accident scenarios like spillages/ leakages of hazardous chemicals, fire, explosion or other incidents arising out of handling of hazardous chemicals and provides guidance to industrial units on conducting safety audits in adherence to Indian Standard, IS:14489:2018 – Code of Practice on Occupational Safety & Health Audit. The guidance mandates that competent agencies, duly accredited by the Accreditation Board of the Ministry of Labour and Employment, can only undertake safety audits. In case of absence of such accreditation, the competent agencies must possess the approval of Chief Inspector of Factories (CIFs) appointed under Factories Act, 1948 to undertake safety audits.

The CIFs of State/ Union Territories (State/ UTs)are nodal agencies to ensure operational safety at chemical industrial units. As per the provisions of MSIHC Rules, 1989, the CIFs can issue improvement notice under Rule 19 to industries for contravening its provisions including failure in safety audit, and ask them to comply with prescribed measures within 45 days. The details of industrial companies that failed in safety audit along with action taken against such companies is maintained at State/UT level by CIFs.

To prevent industrial accidents and chemical emergencies, the MSIHC Rules, 1989 prescribe for undertaking safety audits, preparation of on-site emergency plans by industries, preparation of off-site emergency plans by district authorities and carry out mock drills for assessing preparedness. To support States/ UTs in dealing with industrial disasters, the MoEFCC and CPCB has been providing technical support in the form of precautionary advisories, chemical safety framework and sharing technical recommendations on operation of industries dealing with hazardous chemicals.

This information was given by Shri Ashwini Kumar Choubey, Minister of State, Ministry of Environment, Forest & Climate Change in Lok Sabha today.

Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change Press Release 28 March 2022

FSSAI ACTION AGAINST COMPANIES SELLING ADULTERATED FOOD ITEMS (Press release 15th March 2022)

Section 38, Sub-Section (3) of Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006 provides that where any sample is taken, its cost calculated at the rate at which the article is usually sold to the public shall be paid to the person from whom it is taken. Accordingly, Food Safety Officers while lifting food samples for enforcement and surveillance activities actually purchase it from the Food Business Operators engaged in any food related activities i.e. manufacturing, wholesaling, retailing etc.

The results of enforcement action carried out in a particular financial year are reflected in the Annual Report of FSSAI which is placed in public domain i.e on the website of FSSAI for general information of the public after it is laid in the both Houses of Parliament.

Implementation & enforcement of provisions of Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006 primarily lies with States/UTs Governments. Regular surveillance, monitoring, inspection and sampling of food articles including honey is carried out by food safety officials of States/UTs and where the samples are found non-conforming action is initiated under penal provisions of the Food Safety and Standards Act. Action for misleading advertisements/claims is also taken under the penal provisions of the FSS Act. 

The Union Minister of State for Health and Family Welfare, Dr. Bharati Pravin Pawar stated this in a written reply in the Rajya Sabha today.

People will get land records in their own language soon

People will get land records in their own language soon, says Shri Giriraj Singh


Union Minister Shri Giriraj Singh releases e-book on Land Governance Reforms announced in Budget

State Governments got a significant increase in the land revenue through the use of NGDRS software: Shri Giriraj Singh

Press Release posted Date:- Mar 14, 2022

Union Minister for Rural Development and Panchayati Raj Shri Giriraj Singh announced that soon, people in the country will be able to get their land records in their own language. He said that the Department of Land Resources, MoRD will plan to roll out the multilingual software from April 2022. After that, the land records will be available in 22 languages. The Minister was speaking after releasing an e-book on  Land Governance Reforms announced in Budget titled “Empowering Citizens-Powering India.”

Speaking on the NGDRS software developed indigenously, Shri Giriraj Singh said that the NGDRS software costs around 4 crores to the government but the use of this software resulted in increasing land revenue by the State Governments. The Minister said that State NGDRS is being implemented in 13 States which will be benefitted to 22 crore people. Till now, 30.9 lakh documents registered through the system from which revenue of more than 16 thousand crores has been received.

The Minister said that after the rollout of ULPIN (Unique Land Parcel  Identification Number) in the country, No one can take away the rights of the poor. Linking ULPIN with PAN, Aadhar, land records, Courts and banking system, will get rid of corruption and fraud in land matters. So far, ULPIN is rolled out in 14 States. The Minister also requested State Governments to spread awareness about the land reforms amongst people.

The contents of the e-book are related to Unique Land Parcel Identification Number (ULPIN), National Generic Document Registration System (NGDRS) and Multilingual Land Records – to break the linguistic barrier in land records. There has been tangible transparency in land records information and management after the adoption of digital technology by the Department of Land Resources. A Unique Land Identification Number (ULPIN) to each land parcel is being assigned to land Parcels to prevent fraudulent and Benami property transactions. Further Digitization of Land Records will empower citizens and India for Atmanirbhar Bharat- the vision of Prime Minister. Moreover, the updated land records will reduce the time for payment of compensation and provide rehabilitation and resettlement benefit for land acquisition considerably. The Multilingual Land Records will facilitate access of information for the prospective individuals in his regional and mother languages.

Union Minister of State for Steel and Rural Development, Shri Faggan Singh Kulaste, Minister of State for Rural Development Sadhvi Niranjan Jyoti, Minister of State for Panchayati Raj, Shri Kapil Moreshwar Patil, Secretary, Department of Land Resources Shri Ajay Tirkey and Secretary, Department of Rural Development Shri Nagendra Nath Sinha, Shri Sonmoni Borah, Joint Secretary, DoLR were also present on the occasion.

BUDGET 2022 (Download all budget documents) -01st Feb 2022)

Key to Budget Document, 2022

https://www.indiabudget.gov.in/doc/Key_to_Budget_Document_2021.pdf

Budget Highlights (Key Features)

https://www.indiabudget.gov.in/doc/bh1.pdf

Annual Financial Statement
+

https://www.indiabudget.gov.in/#collapse2

Memorandum Explaining the Provisions in the Financial Bill

https://www.indiabudget.gov.in/doc/memo.pdf

Finance Bill

https://www.indiabudget.gov.in/doc/Finance_Bill.pdf

Statements of Fiscal Policy under the FRBM Act, 2003

https://www.indiabudget.gov.in/doc/frbm1.pdf

Output Outcome Framework for Schemes 2022-2023

https://www.indiabudget.gov.in/doc/OutcomeBudgetE2021_2022.pdf

Customs Notifications
+

https://www.indiabudget.gov.in/#custom

Implementation of Budget Announcements 2021-2022

https://www.indiabudget.gov.in/doc/impbud2020-21.pdf

Budget at a Glance
+

https://www.indiabudget.gov.in/#budget

Expenditure Profile
+

https://www.indiabudget.gov.in/#expen

Expenditure Budget

https://www.indiabudget.gov.in/#expenb

Ministry wise Summary of Budget Provisions

https://www.indiabudget.gov.in/doc/eb/sumsbe.pdf

All Statements of Budget Estimates

https://www.indiabudget.gov.in/doc/eb/allsbe.pdf

Finance Minister’s Speech

https://www.indiabudget.gov.in/#collapse1

Centre notifies the Consumer Protection (Direct Selling) Rules, 2021

Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food & Public Distribution Press Release dated 28th Dec 2021

Centre notifies the Consumer Protection (Direct Selling) Rules, 2021.


Existing Direct Selling entities to comply these rules within ninety days.

Both Direct sellers as well as the direct selling entities using e-commerce platforms for sale shall comply with the requirements of the Consumer Protection (e-Commerce) Rules, 2020.

Both Direct selling entity and direct sellers are prohibited from promoting Pyramid Scheme or money circulation scheme.

State Government to set up a mechanism to monitor or supervise the activities of direct sellers and direct selling entity.

Well laid down duties and obligations for both direct selling entities and direct sellers to safeguard the interests of consumers.

Direct selling entities to be liable for the grievances arising out of the sale of goods or services by its direct sellers.

Central Government in exercise of the powers conferred by clause (zg) of sub-section (2) of section 101 read with section 94 of the Consumer Protection Act, 2019 has notified  the Consumer Protection (Direct Selling) Rules, 2021.

These Rules shall apply to all goods and services bought or sold through direct selling, all models of direct selling, all direct selling entities offering goods and services to consumers in India, all forms of unfair trade practices across all models of direct selling and also to also to a direct selling entity which is not established in India, but offers goods or services to consumers in India.

Existing direct selling entities need to comply of these rules within ninety days from the date of publication of these rules in the Official Gazette.

The direct sellers as well as the direct selling entities using e-commerce platforms for sale shall comply with the requirements of the Consumer Protection (e-Commerce) Rules, 2020.

Direct selling entity and direct sellers are prohibited from:

(i)         Promoting a Pyramid Scheme or enroll any person to such scheme or participate in such arrangement in any manner whatsoever in the garb of doing direct selling business;

(ii)        Participate in money circulation scheme in the garb of doing direct selling business.

Rules provide for Monitoring by State Government.–– For ensuring compliance of these rules by direct selling entity and direct sellers, every State Government to set up a mechanism to monitor or supervise the activities of direct sellers and direct selling entity.

The Rules provide for certain obligation upon Direct Selling Entities which inter alia include :-

(i)         incorporation under the Companies Act, 2013 or if a partnership firm, be registered under the Partnership Act, 1932, or if a limited liability partnership, be registered under the Limited Liability Partnership Act, 2008;

(ii)        have a minimum of one physical location as its registered office within India

(iii)       make self-declaration to the effect that Direct Selling Entity has complied with the provisions of the Direct Selling  rules and is not involved in any Pyramid Scheme or money circulation scheme;

(iv)       have a prior written contract with its direct sellers in order to authorize them to sell or offer to sell its goods or services, and the terms of such agreement shall be just, fair and equitable;

(v)        ensure that all its direct sellers have verified identities and physical addresses and issue identity cards and documents only to such direct sellers;

(vi)       create adequate safeguards to ensure that goods and services offered by its direct sellers conform to applicable laws;

(vii)      be liable for the grievances arising out of the sale of goods or services by its direct sellers.

(viii)     every direct selling entity to provide the following information on its website in a clear and accessible manner

         registered name of the direct selling entity;

         registered address of the direct selling entity and of its branches;

         contact details, including e-mail address, fax, land line and mobile numbers of its customer care and grievance redressal officers;

         a ticket number for each complaint lodged through which the complainant can track the status of the complaint;

         information relating to return, refund, exchange, warranty and guarantee, delivery and shipment, modes of payment, grievance redressal mechanism and such other information which may be required by the consumers to make informed decisions;

         information on available payment methods, the security of those payment methods, the fees or charges payable by users, the procedure to cancel regular payments under those methods, charge-back options, if any, and the contact information of the relevant payment service provider;

         total price of any goods or service in single figure, along with its break-up price showing all compulsory and voluntary charges, including delivery charges, postage and handling charges, conveyance charges and the applicable tax;

         provide correct and complete information at pre-purchase stage to enable buyers to make informed purchase decisions,  No direct selling entity shall adopt any unfair trade practice in the course of its business or otherwise, and shall abide by the requirements specified in any law for the time being in force.

All products of a direct selling entity to comply with the declarations to be made under the Legal Metrology Act, 2009.

Every direct selling entity to establish an adequate grievance redressal mechanism and display the current and updated name, contact details including telephone number, email address and designation of such officer on its website, and the details of its website shall also be prominently printed on the product information sheet or pamphlet.

Grievance redressal officer to acknowledge the receipt of any consumer complaint within forty-eight working hours of receipt of such complaint and redresses the complaint normally within a period of one month from the date of receipt of the complaint and in case of delay of more than a month, reasons for the delay, and the actions taken on the complaint, are informed to the complainant in writing.

Every direct selling entity shall appoint a nodal officer who shall be responsible for ensuring compliance with the provisions of the Act and the rules made there under, and to ensure compliance with any order, or requisition, made in accordance with the provisions of any other law for the time being in force or the rules made thereunder.

Every direct selling entity shall establish a mechanism for filing of complaints by consumers through its offices or branches or direct sellers, either in person or through post, telephone, e-mail or website.

Every direct selling entity shall maintain a record of all its direct sellers, including their identity proof, address proof, e-mail and such other contact information.

Every direct selling entity shall, on the request in writing made by a consumer after the purchase of any goods or services, provide him with the information regarding any direct seller from whom such consumer has made a purchase, and such information shall include the name, address, e-mail, contact number and any other information which is necessary for making communication with such direct seller for effective dispute resolution.

Every direct selling entity shall ensure that the advertisements for marketing of goods or services are consistent with the actual characteristics, access and usage conditions of such goods or services.

 No direct selling entity shall, directly or indirectly, falsely represent itself as a consumer and post reviews about its goods or services or misrepresent the quality or features of any of its goods or services.

A direct selling entity which explicitly or implicitly vouches for the authenticity of the goods or services sold, or guarantees that such goods or services are authentic, shall bear the liability in any action related to the authenticity of such goods or services.

Notwithstanding the distribution system adopted by it, a direct selling entity shall monitor the practices adopted by its direct sellers and ensure compliance with these rules by means of legally binding contract with such direct sellers.

Every direct selling entity shall maintain a record of relevant information allowing for the identification of all direct sellers who have been delisted by the direct selling entity and such list shall be publicly shared on its website.

Every direct selling entity shall become a partner in the convergence process of the National Consumer Helpline of the Central Government.

The Rules provide for certain obligation upon Direct Sellers  which inter alia include :-

(i)         have a prior written contract with the direct selling entity for undertaking sale of, or offer to sell, any goods or services of such entity;

(ii)        at the initiation of any sale representation, truthfully and clearly identify himself, disclose the identity of the direct selling entity, the address of place of business, the nature of goods or services sold and the purpose of such solicitation to the prospect;

(iii)       make an offer to the prospect providing accurate and complete information, demonstration of goods and services, prices, credit terms, terms of payment, return, exchange, refund policy, return policy, terms of guarantee and after-sale service;

(iv)       provide an order form to the consumer at or prior to the time of the initial sale, which shall identify the direct selling entity and the direct seller and shall contain the name, address, registration number or enrollment number, identity proof and contact number of the direct seller, complete description of the goods or services to be supplied, the country of origin of the goods, the order date, the total amount to be paid by the consumer, the time and place for inspection of the sample and delivery of goods, consumer’s rights to cancel the order or to return the product in saleable condition and avail full refund on sums paid and complete details regarding the complaint redressal mechanism of the direct selling entity;

(v)        obtain goods and service tax registration, Permanent Account Number registration, all applicable trade registrations and licenses and comply with the requirements of applicable laws, rules and regulations for sale of a product;

(vi)       ensure that actual product delivered to the buyer matches with the description of the product given;

(vii)      take appropriate steps to ensure the protection of all sensitive personal information provided by the consumer in accordance with the applicable laws for the time being in force and ensure adequate safeguards to prevent access to, or misuse of, data by unauthorized persons.

(viii)     A direct seller shall not––

         visit a consumer’s premises without identity card and prior appointment or approval;

         provide any literature to a prospect, which has not been approved by the direct selling entity;

         require a prospect to purchase any literature or sales demonstration equipment;

         in pursuance of a sale, make any claim that is not consistent with claims authorized by the direct selling entity.

Every direct selling entity and every direct seller shall ensure that––

(i)         the terms of the offer are clear, so as to enable the consumer to know the exact nature of offer being made and the commitment involved in placing any order;.

(ii)        the presentations and other representations used in direct selling shall not contain any product description, claim, illustration or other element which, directly or by implication, is likely to mislead the consumer;.

(iii)       the explanation and demonstration of the goods or services offered are accurate and complete, particularly with regard to price and, if applicable, to credit conditions, terms of payment, cooling-off periods or right to return, terms of guarantee, after-sales service and delivery;

(iv)       the descriptions, claims, illustrations or other elements relating to verifiable facts are capable of substantiation

(v)        any misleading, deceptive or unfair trade practices are not used;

(vi)       direct selling is not represented to the consumer as being a form of market research;

(vii)      direct selling shall not state or imply that a guarantee, warranty or other expression having substantially the same meaning, offers to the consumer any rights in additional to those provided by law, when it does not;

(viii)     the remedial action open to the consumer shall be clearly set out in the order form or other accompanying literature provided with the goods or service

(ix)       the presentation of the offer does not contain or refer to any testimonial, endorsement or supportive documentation unless it is genuine, verifiable and relevant;

(x)        when after-sales service is offered, details of the service are included in the guarantee or stated elsewhere in the offer and if the consumer accepts the offer, information shall be given on how the consumer can activate the service and communicate with the service agent;

(xi)       unless otherwise stipulated in the offer, orders shall be fulfilled within the delivery date proposed to the consumer at the time of purchase and the consumer shall be informed of any undue delay as soon as it becomes apparent or comes within the knowledge of the direct selling entity or the concerned direct seller;

(xii)      in cases of delay  any request for cancellation of the order by the consumer shall be granted, irrespective of whether the consumer has been informed of the delay, and the deposit, if any, shall be refunded as per the cancellation terms proposed to the consumer at the time of purchase, and if it is not possible to prevent delivery, the consumer shall be informed of the right to return the product at the direct selling company’s or the direct seller’s cost as per the procedure for return of the goods proposed to the consumer at the time of purchase;

(xiii)       whether payment for the offer is on an immediate sale or installment basis, the price and terms of payment shall be clearly stated in the offer together with the nature of any additional charges such as postage, handling and taxes and, whenever possible, the amounts of such charges;

(xiv)     in the case of sales by installment, the credit terms, including the amount of any deposit or payment on account, the number, amount and periodicity of such installments and the total price compared with the immediate selling price, if any, shall be clearly shown in the offer;

(xv)      any information needed by the consumer to understand the cost, interest and terms of any other form of credit is provided either in the offer or when the credit is offered;

(xvi)     unless the duration of the offer and the price are clearly stated in the offer, prices shall be maintained for a reasonable period of time;

(xvii)      A direct selling entity or direct seller shall not––

         indulge in fraudulent activities or sales and shall take reasonable steps to ensure that participants do not indulge in false or misleading representations or any other form of fraud, coercion, harassment, or unconscionable or unlawful means;

         engage in, or cause or permit, any conduct that is misleading or likely to mislead with regard to any material particulars relating to its direct selling business, or to the goods or services being sold by itself or by the direct seller;

         indulge in mis-selling of products or services to consumers;

         use, or cause or permit to be used, any fraudulent, coercive, unconscionable or unlawful means, or cause harassment, for promoting its direct selling business, or for sale of its goods or services;

         refuse to take back spurious goods or deficient services and refund the consideration paid for goods and services provided;

         charge any entry fee or subscription fee.

(xviii)   direct selling entity and a direct seller shall not induce consumers to make a purchase based upon the representation that they can reduce or recover the price by referring prospective customers to the direct sellers for similar purchases.