Consumer courts planned in all seven provinces

Kathmandu, January 23

The government is preparing to set up at least one consumer court in every province to safeguard the rights of consumers amid the supply of substandard goods and lack of a dedicated court to deal with consumer-related issues.

Currently, Ministry of Supplies (MoS) has been revisiting different policies as per the federal system. While adjusting policies under federalism, MoS has planned to set up one consumer court in each province and one at the central level.

“Though the concept of consumer courts was envisioned many years ago, such courts could not be set up in the past. However, MoS has placed this issue under high priority and works regarding setting up at least one special court dealing with consumers’ affairs will start soon,” said Mukunda Prasad Paudyal, spokesperson for MoS.

According to him, a meeting of stakeholders has been called for next week to seek ways in establishing such courts.

Earlier, the government had planned to set up consumer courts in all the districts to deal with issues related to consumer complaints. However, it is revisiting its previous plan and is gearing up to establish such courts in all seven provinces.

“Meanwhile, one consumer court will also be set up at the central level to look into consumer issues at the national level,” added Paudyal.

Formation of such special courts to deal with issues related to consumers is expected to curb the violation of consumer rights as such cases have piled up since many years and offenders have been easily escaping due to lack of timely verdict from the court.

Kumar Prasad Dahal, director general of the Department of Supply Management and Protection of Consumer Interest, said that the department has been intensifying market inspections to curb consumer rights violation at present. “However, reforms in existing policies and formation of consumer courts at different levels are necessary to safeguard the rights of consumers,” he said.

Meanwhile, formation of consumer courts is one of the demands of consumer rights activists. They have been demanding for such courts since many years citing that the offenders had been easily escaping without any government action due to the lengthy process of punishment as defined in the existing laws.

“Though the government brings different plans to curb violation of consumer rights, it has failed to execute such plans effectively. The government should keep consumer issues in top priority,” said Madhav Timalsina, president of Consumer Rights Investigation Forum.