Consumer courts to check inappropriate market practices

Kathmandu, August 7

A draft bill related to consumer rights protection has proposed two to five years of jail term or a fine of Rs 4 lakh to Rs 6 lakh or both for people involved in inappropriate market practices.

The bill, which has been registered in the Parliament following the Cabinet’s nod, will soon be tabled in the House of Representatives.

The inappropriate practices, according to the bill, include sellers cheating customers on quality, price, weight and measurement of goods and services, hoarding and creating artificial shortage.

If producers, transporters, wholesalers, sellers and service providers fail to fulfil their responsibilities, they will be subjected to two to five years’ jail term or fined Rs 3 lakh to Rs 5 lakh or both.

Those involved in activities affecting demand, supply or market price will face two to three years in jail or a fine of Rs 3 lakh to Rs 5 lakh or both.

The bill also seeks to penalise those refusing to issue receipts or charging extra for issuing receipts. It also proposes penalties for those selling date-expired products by changing their tags.

The bill also has a provision of consumer courts to be formed by the government in every district, with the district judge as the chair of such a court.

The bill has also proposed a Consumer Protection Council chaired by the minister of industry, commerce and supplies.

The draft bill has also a provision for a Central Market Monitoring Committee led by the secretary of the ministry of industry, commerce and supplies.