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Protection of Consumers’ Rights and prevention of anti-consumers Rights Practices is highly required
Adv Zahid Ahmed Hero
All the citizens of our country are consumers in actual sense of the term. Because we are to consume for our survival and this consumption does not necessarily mean only foods but also includes services such as transport, residential hotel, restaurant and health services providing institution and so on. In our country, food adulteration, fake goods, below standard services, are very common phenomenon. Unfortunately during the period of any holy and religious occasion like Ramadan, Eid, Puja, Christmas day and so on, this sort of anti-consumers rights practices increases to a great extent. Whereas it is expedient and necessary to make provisions for the protection of the rights of the consumers as well as for the prevention of anti-consumer rights practices, The Consumers’ Rights Protection Acts, 2009 has been enacted. Many people says mere existence of a law is not sufficient unless effective implementation is ensured, but where in the presence of law outlaws peoples commit crimes, so in absence of law what they will do? So Legal awareness or law consciousness of the mess people can play a substantial role in not eradicating at least in preventing those heinous and inhuman offences relating to human health and foods.
According to Consumers’ Rights Protection Act, 2009 a consumer includes firstly one who, without resale or commercial purpose buys any goods, secondly one who, buys any goods or uses it commercially for the purpose of earning his livelihood by means of self-employment and finally one who, hires or in any other means avails of any services.
Unfortunately Many of our business man are involved in anti-consumer rights practices which means and includes to sell or offer to sell adulterated goods or medicine knowingly, to sell any goods containing nay ingredients which is extremely injurious to human health, to provide any services at a higher price than the fixed price, to deceive consumers by untrue and false advertisement, to sell less quantity of foods than the weight, to make and manufacture any fake goods and medicine, to sell any goods or medicines the date of which has been expired and so on.
In every legislation, there is someone who is empowered to execute the law and to monitor, punish the offenders under the law, but they are beyond the reach of the common people of the country. Under the provision of the said Act also there is a Directorate office to be called the Directorate of National Consumers’ Rights Protection and there is also a post of D.G, I mean Director General in charge of the said Directorate who is responsible to carry out the purposes of the said Act. The Director General is bound by law to take all necessary measures as he deems expedient and necessary for the protection of the Rights of the consumers and prevention of anti-consumer right practices and disposal of the complaint against violation of the rights of the consumers. Not only that he is bound to monitor whether the standard quality of goods or services by the seller is being maintained and take necessary actions, to monitor whether any goods or medicine are being adulterated, to monitor whether any expired goods or medicines are being sold, to monitor whether any fraud is committed in respect of weight, to monitor whether consumers are being deceived by false advertisement for selling goods or services and take necessary actions as well. Even he has the power under this Act to issue warrant, to seize contaminated goods and to pass order for temporary closure of any shop, commercial enterprise etc for any anti-consumer rights practices.
According to Section 29 of the Act, there is strict prohibition on manufacturing, selling of goods injurious to human health. And according to Section 41,if any person knowingly sells or offers to sell any adulterated goods and medicines, he shall be punished with imprisonment for a term up to 3 years and fine of taka 2 lacs. And if any person deceives any buyer by any false or untrue advertisement for the purpose of selling any goods or services, he shall be punished with imprisonment for a term up to 1 year and fine of taka 2 lacs. And not only that if any person sells any goods to consumer less than the offered measurement and weight, he shall be punished with imprisonment for a term up to 1 year also and fine of taka 50 thousand. And if any person sells any date expired goods or medicine, he shall also be inflicted same punishment of 1 year imprisonment and fine of take 50 thousand.
Finally offences of the said nature under this Act shall be tried by the Magistrates and ensure proper punishment of the offences and proper administration of justice. The offender will be given opportunity of being heard and explained.
Apart from the legal punitive approach, there also a moral duty of upon the businessman to abstain from committing these sorts of heinous offences injurious to human health and mind and stringent and exemplary punishment should be inflicted upon the perpetrators to save human life and health.
LL.B (Hon’s) 1ST Class
LL.M 1ST Class
Advocate, Supreme Court of Bangladesh