Kathmandu, March 14
Consumers who have waited for last 25 years to seek redressal on issues related to violation of consumer rights have not been able to do so due to lack of formation of consumer courts.
Although new Consumer Protection Act was enacted law five months ago containing provisions related to formation of consumer courts, the government has yet to form these courts. Consumer rights activists have been lobbying for the formation of consumer courts for last 25 years.
As per the Consumer Protection Act, the government has the authority to form three-member consumer courts under the chairmanship of a district court judge. One under secretary-level government attorney and one under secretary will be the members of the Consumer Court.
National Consumers Forum Nepal Chair Prem Lal Maharjan said the new Consumer Protection Act was flawed because it did not ensure participation of consumer rights activists in the Consumer Court as practised across the world.
“The government is yet to form consumer courts and even if it does, the courts cannot win people’s confidence without amending the act’s provision to induct representatives from among consumer rights activists,” Maharjan added.
He said people who were being cheated by unscrupulous traders and service providers were not being able to seek effective legal remedy in the absence of consumer courts.
General Secretary of Forum for protection of Consumer Rights-Nepal Babu Ram Humagain said the new Consumer Protection Act unfairly gave director general of Commerce, Supplies and Consumer Protection the power to impose fine and jail term on the offenders.
“Only the consumer courts should have power to deal with consumer offences,” he added. Humagain said although the constitution had ensured people’s right to quality goods and services, they had not been able to enjoy this fundamental right due to lack of monitoring and redressal mechanisms.
A version of this article appears in print on March 15, 2019 of The Himalayan Times.