Consumers Not Protected Well: Govt encourages Law Commission to suggest changes in act

Source: The Daily Star, 13 December 2009

Law Commission Chairman Justice MA Rashid yesterday termed the Consumers Rights Protection Act – 2009 faulty and said it should be amended, as the provisions of the law didn’t properly ensure consumers’ rights and interests.

There is no provision in the law whereby people can be compensated for bad or sub-standard products, he said, adding that the law commission will make necessary recommendations to amend the law if the government wants it.

He was speaking as the chief guest at a round-table discussion on “Consumers Rights Protection Act – 2009: Review and Recommendations” organised by Bangladesh Legal Aid and Services Trust (BLAST) at BIAM auditorium in Dhaka.

Asked about the statement of the law commission chairman, Law Minister Shafique Ahmed yesterday told The Daily Star the law commission itself could suggest amendments to the Consumers Rights Protection Act for the government to accept if the commission felt it necessary.

“I have not yet examined the law since it is not concerned with the law ministry. If there is any fault in the law, the commission itself can take initiatives to amend it and can make necessary recommendations to the government,” he said.

Presided over by BLAST’s Executive Director Mohsin Ali Khan, the discussion was addressed by, among others, Justice Md Awlad Ali, a former High Court judge, Director General of the Directorate of Consumers’ Rights Protection Abul Hossain Miah, Supreme Court lawyers Dr Shahdeen Malik, Khurshid Alam Khan, Ruhul Quddus, Turen Afroaz and Shamsul Huq.

As per the provisions of the Consumers Rights Protection Act – 2009, victims have to file complaint in black and white with the director general of the Directorate of Consumers’ Rights Protection within 30 days of the incidents.

If the charge sheet of the case is not submitted to the court within 90 days after filing the case, it will not be accepted, the law says.

Justice Rashid said the act was framed without following the international laws, which protect people’s rights.

“The people of the USA and European countries are blessed by their laws while we are cursed,” he resented.

The commission chairman suggested that the government should constitute special tribunals at district level to conduct the cases filed by consumers to ensure their rights.

Justice Awlad Ali said the law doesn’t have any provision by which actions can be taken against dishonest traders who are responsible for sudden price hikes of the products.