Still unprotected

A law has been in place to protect consumers for a decade. Last year, the government promulgated Competition and Market Protection Act 2063, in order to safeguard consumer rights and also to meet Nepal’s obligations under the WTO. However, the government’s inability to implement these laws effectively has neither helped promote and protect consumer interests nor curb illegal and unfair trade practices. The Morang Trade Association and Commerce Department have said that despite the existence of the laws that are meant

to safeguard consumer rights, consumers continue to suffer at the hands of unscrupulous traders and businessmen in the absence of an effective body to address their grievances. They have also demanded that the government immediately form a consumers court.

Under the present system, consumers have to lodge their complaints at the District Administration Office. The DAO, with already too many responsibilities — administrative and security — neither has the jurisdiction over all cases pertaining to consumer rights nor can be expected to adjudicate on each and every consumer complaint. Furthermore, since the offences related to consumer rights are of special nature, an independent body that can fully implement consumer laws would help eliminate malpractices in trade and business. The formation of a Consumers Court in that regard would go a long way in dispensing justice to consumers, at large.