‘Right to Repair’ Portal unveiled by Consumer Affairs Ministry

The Food and Consumer Affairs Minister unveiled a slew of new initiatives, including a portal for the right to repair.

Right to Repair portal

  • Manufacturers would share the manual of product details with customers on the ‘right to repair’ portal so that they could repair themselves or by third parties rather than rely on the original manufacturers.
  • Mobile phones, electronics, consumer durables, automobiles, and farming equipment would be initially covered.

Right to Repair

  • It refers to proposed government legislation allowing consumers to repair and modify their own consumer products (e.g. electronic, and automotive devices).
  • The name “right to repair” encapsulates the concept: if you own something, you should be able to repair it yourself or take it to a technician of your choice.
  • When it comes to older cars and appliances, people are used to this concept, but right-to-repair advocates argue that modern technology, particularly anything with a computer chip inside, is rarely repairable.


  • Repairability: The device should be built and designed in such a way that repairs are simple.
  • Access to critical components: End users and independent repair providers should have fair market access to original spare parts and tools (both software and physical tools) required to repair the device.
  • There are no technical barriers: Repairs should be designed to be possible and should not be hampered by software programming.
  • Effective communication: The manufacturer should clearly communicate the repairability of a device.

How did it come into being?

  • The average consumer buys an electronic device knowing that it will quickly become obsolete as the manufacturer releases a newer, more powerful version.
  • As your device ages, problems begin to emerge — your smartphone may slow down to the point of being unusable, or your gaming console may require one too many hard resets.
  • When this occurs, you are frequently left at the mercy of manufacturers, who make repairs inaccessible and prohibitively expensive.

Why is such a right significant?

  • Exorbitant repair costs: Manufacturers frequently reduce product durability, forcing consumers to either repurchase the product or have it repaired at exorbitant prices set by the manufacturers.
  • Lifespan extension: The movement’s goal is to extend the life of products and keep them from ending up in landfills.
  • Against planned obsolescence: Electronic manufacturers are encouraging this culture so that devices are specifically designed to last a limited amount of time and then be replaced.
  • Natural resource scarcity: Obsolescence puts enormous strain on the environment and wastes natural resources.
  • Climate change mitigation: The production of an electronic device is a highly polluting process. It relies on polluting energy sources such as fossil fuels.
  • Boost to the repair economy: Proponents of the right to repair argue that this will help small repair shops, which are an important part of local economies.

Concerns with obsolete devices

  • Unfair trade practice: For manufacturers, either of these options is a win-win situation, because both high-priced repairs and new sales mean more profits.
  • High consumer costs: This frequently leads to higher consumer costs or drives consumers to replace devices rather than repair them.
  • E-waste generation: The global community is concerned about the ever-increasing size of the e-waste stream.
  • Recyclability: Up to 95% of the raw materials used to manufacture electronic devices can be recycled, whereas the vast majority of newly manufactured devices use little to no recycled material due to higher costs.

Why do electronic manufacturers oppose this movement?

  • Apple, Microsoft, Amazon, and Tesla, among others, have been lobbying against the right to repair.
  • IPR infringement through reverse engineering: Their argument is that opening up their intellectual property to third-party repair services violates their intellectual property rights.
  • Device safety risks: Amateur repairers may expose themselves to exploitation and jeopardize the safety and security of their devices.
  • Personal data security: Tesla, for example, has fought right-to-repair advocacy, claiming that such initiatives endanger data and cyber security.
  • Sheer casualization: The tech giant allows only authorized technicians to repair its devices and does not provide spare parts or DIY repair manuals.

Right to Repair in India

  • The ‘right to repair’ is not recognized as a statutory right in India, but certain antitrust pronouncements have implicitly recognized the right.
  • Consumer rights that are required: Monopoly over repair processes violates the “right to choose” recognized by the Consumer Protection Act of 2019.
  • Agency acknowledgment: The right to repair has also been partially recognized in the country’s consumer dispute jurisprudence.
  • Maintaining Competition: In Shamsher Kataria v Honda Siel Cars India Ltd (2017), the Competition Commission of India ruled that limiting independent automobile repair units’ access to spare parts was anti-competitive.
  • A component of consumer welfare: The CCI found that the practice was harmful to consumer welfare.
  • Recycling legislation: The e-waste (management and handling) rules address not only how to handle waste in an environmentally friendly manner, but also how it is transported, stored, and recycled.

Way ahead

  • Avoiding blanket waivers: While necessary clauses for product quality can be included, a blanket waiver should be avoided.
  • The quality assurance clause, for example, can be incorporated for the use of company-recommended spare parts and certified repair shops.
  • Making the repair manual available: Making repair manuals available to certified business owners could help to balance consumer and manufacturer rights.
  • Sign a non-disclosure agreement to protect intellectual property rights: Manufacturers can sign a non-disclosure agreement with certified repairers/businesses to protect their intellectual property.
  • Certification/licensing: Furthermore, repair workers’ lack of certification/licensing is viewed as a reflection of their lack of skills.
  • Incorporate the right to repair into the Consumer Protection Act: The ‘right to repair’ is implied in Section 2(9) of the Consumer Protection Act of 2019.
  • Parameter for reparability: Section 84’s product liability clause can be amended and expanded to impose product liability for various reparability parameters of the product.
  • Product liability duration: The length of time required to impose product liability may vary depending on the product and its longevity.
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