[Answered] There has been a global initiative by governments and anti-trust regulators to recognize the right to repair. Does India also need a ‘Right To Repair’ Legislation?

Introduction: contextual introduction.
Body: Write some points related to the need of ‘Right to Repair’ Legislation in India. Write some negative aspects of this legislation.
Way forward:  Brief Conclusion.

The ‘Right To Repair’ movement traces its roots back to the very dawn of the computer era in the 1950s. Right to repair advocates are of the view that electronic manufacturers are encouraging a culture of ‘planned obsolescence’, which means that devices are specifically designed to replace in future. This leads to immense pressure on the environment and wasted natural resources.

Need of ‘Right to Repair’ Legislation:

  • Economical aspect: Consumers spend large sums of money on technology that becomes obsolete within a few years. It is either unreasonably expensive or impossible to repair defects in these products. It forces them to discard their devices and purchase new ones that they would not ordinarily require.
  • Consumer exploitation: In the absence of competition, manufacturers charge excessive costs for repairs and leave customers with no cheaper self-repair or third-party alternatives, resulting in consumer exploitation.
  • Unsustainable: Repairing of electronics provides a way to keep them out of landfills.
  • Job creation: This will help boost business for small repair shops, which are an important part of local economies.
  • Curbing environmental pollution: It will help reduce the vast amount of electrical waste (e-waste). Repairing and reusing equipment minimizes carbon emissions, material waste, and much more.

While the benefits mentioned above could benefit consumers and independent repair stores, the implementation of a right to repair mandate also has serious concerns. These are as follows:

  • Security is highly regarded as one of the largest risks with adopting Right to Repair laws.  Requiring OEMs to provide access to their parts, tools, documents, and other proprietary information could also increase their vulnerability to cyber-attacks. Hackers could also obtain access to personal data.
  • Safety: Repairs by third parties could lead to equipment malfunctions and product quality issues. In the medical device context, it could endanger patient safety.
  • There may be negative impact on intellectual property rights, research and development (R&D) investment, and the brand due to faulty repair services.

The Right to Repair is a keen battle between the customer and the manufacturer. India has statutorily not recognized the right to repair. A well-drafted legislation will not only uphold the right to repair but may aid in striking a much-needed balance between intellectual property and competitive laws in the country.

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