Most of us are not aware of the fact that Govt. of Punjab passed “Punjab Consumers Protection Act” in 2005 to protect the rights of consumers. Even if someone knows about this act, he/she seldom makes use of it. The basic purpose of making this act a part of our legislation is to establish a prosperous society where all the consumers should feel themselves secured and where there is no room for fraud.
After the approval of this act district consumer courts are established in all the districts of Punjab so that people may easily access to these courts for the protection of their rights. Along these district consumer courts a network of district consumer’s protection councils has been spread all over the province. These councils are established to create awareness among masses about their basic rights and benefits as a consumer.
Now question arises when and how a consumer can access to district consumer court?
Well, according to “Punjab Consumers Protection Act 2005” a consumer should go to district consumer court:
- if illegal, fake, bad quality and expiry dated products are being sold in the market,
- if receipt is not being provided by the shopkeeper,
- if rate list is not displayed,
- if the consumer has any complaint against the warranty of any product he has purchased,
- if manufacturing date, expiry date and ingredients are not mentioned over packing,
- if any product is being sold through false advertisement,
- if the consumer has experienced bad service by any govt. or private organization/individual,
- If there is an absence of a clear policy regarding the purchasing and returning of product.
A consumer may also contact district consumer’s protection councils if he has any complaint. All District Co-ordination officers(DCO’s) are also authorized to hear these complaints. Moreover consumer may also file a petition in district consumer courts for compensation. The legal procedure to writ against an organization or individual is to send a legal notice to him. If matter is not resolved, submit an application in the district consumer court.
The application must contain name, address and C.N.I.C no. of the petitioner and a copy of that legal notice must be attached to that application.Moreover, if the petitioner has any other documentary proof (such as receipt), then it should also be attached to.It should be kept in mind that no court fee is charged in any case which is filed for the protection of consumer’s rights. But masses are not willing to get benefit of this act.
Our common people have always been remained unable to protect their basic rights. The basic reason behind this is the distrust on govt. institutions. People think that such procedures are only wastage of time and money. But Consumer Courts are providing Speedy Remedy to the people/complainant.
It is the duty of print and electronic media to create awareness among masses about their fundamental rights so that the dream of “Satisfied consumers, prosperous society” may come true.
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Mahmood Saleem, Advocate High Court