UPSC Daily Editorial Analysis | Right to Repair | 14 June 2022

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What the article is about?

  • Talks about the right to repair and compares with the provisions of Consumer Protection Act.

Syllabus: GS-II Government Policies and Initiatives, Rights

Right to Repair:

  • The U.S. state of New York recently passed the Fair Repair Act, which requires manufacturers to supply repair information, tools, and parts to independent repair shops and not just their own stores or partners.
    • This provides consumers with the right to repair and refurbish their purchased goods.
    • With access to relevant tools and repair manuals, independent repair shops will finally be able to compete with manufacturers.
  • When read closely, the ‘right to repair’ can be said to be implicit in Section 2(9) of the Consumer Protection Act, 2019.
    • Often, manufacturers reduce the durability of the product, compelling consumers to either repurchase the product or get it repaired at exorbitant prices affixed by the manufacturers.
    • Specifically, this tramples upon the right to obtain information about the quality of the product, the right to procure products at reasonable prices, and the right to seek redress against unscrupulous practices.
    • For instance, the product liability clause under Section 84 can be amended and expanded to impose product liability concerning various reparability parameters of the product.
  • France requires manufacturers to display a repairability index on their products which consists of five parameters.
    • This helps consumers understand if the products are repairable, difficult to repair or not repairable at all.
  • The scope of the right can only be determined in the domestic context of the country. We use complex machinery as compared to the past.
    • For instance, air conditioners have largely replaced fans and coolers. An entire repair class is, in effect, denied its right to conduct business as it does not have the tools, parts, guidelines and technical know-how to repair these high-tech products.
    • Further, the lack of certification/licensing of repair workers is seen as a reflection of their lack of skills.
    • But a repair certification/licence can be allotted to those who pass certain criteria and skill tests.
  • In addition to protecting their right to livelihood, it may also prove beneficial as tech companies are required to share their repair manuals with certified technicians.
    • Making repair manuals available to certified business owners could go a long way in balancing the rights of consumers and manufacturers. 


  • The New York legislation is a reminder that it is time to not only acknowledge the right to repair of consumers but also respond to the corresponding rights of the manufacturers.
  • This warrants some expedited policy changes to recognise the ‘right to repair’, be it through amendments in the Consumer Protection Act, 2019 or through a separate law. 

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