KARACHI: The provincial government has notified the consumer protection councils at the provincial and district levels in compli­ance with an order of the Sindh High Court.

On Aug 28, a two-judge SHC bench headed by Justice Mohammad Ali Mazhar had directed the agriculture, supply and prices secretary to complete the process of setting up consumer protection councils at the provincial and district level within 20 days.

The agriculture, supply and prices secretary, Agha Zaheeruddin, in a notification stated that in exercise of powers conferred under Section 25(1) of the Sindh Consumer Protection Act, 2014 read with Rule 19(1) of the Sindh Consumer Protection Rules 2017 and the approval of the competent authority (Sindh chief minister), the government has set up the provincial consumer protection council comprising a chairperson and 20 members.

The director general of the bureau of supply and prices will be the chairperson of the provincial council with seven official and 13 non-officials members, it added.

The additional commissioner-I of all the divisions in Sindh and representatives of industries, food, labour, health and agriculture departments as well as director of the bureau of supply and prices will be the official members, the notification said.

The president of the Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry, chairperson of the women skill development project, chairman of health, education and literacy programme and others will act as the non-official members of the provincial council.

The district consumer protection councils have also been established in all 29 districts of the province and each will be headed by the deputy commissioner concerned with three official and six non-official members.

On the directives of the SHC, the provincial authorities had already established 29 consumer courts across the province in March.

In its Aug 28 order, the bench had also issued directives to release the salaries of some judges of the consumer courts. The SHC had issued directives on two petitions against non-implementation of the Sindh Consumer Protection Act, 2014.

Advocate Tariq Mansoor and Imran Shahzad of a non-governmental organisation had filed a petition in the SHC against non-implementation of the Sindh Consumer Protection Act, 2014.

They had submitted that the provincial assembly had passed the law in 2014 to protect and promote the rights of citizens and to redress consumers’ complaints at the earliest. However, neither any consumer courts nor a consumer protection council had been established by the provincial government, they added.

The petitioners said it was a violation of the law and the Constitution.

Published in Dawn, September 15th, 2019