Islamabad to have trained lawyers on consumer litigation

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Islamabad The Network for Consumer Protection held a workshop for the lawyers of District Courts Islamabad on ‘Grievance Redress Mechanism in consumer Protection Laws & Energy Sector Regulations’, says a press release.


Funded by USAID, the workshop has the aim of orientation of lawyers on the city’s 17 years old Consumer Protection Law making it more proactive in providing relief and redress to consumers of the capital city.


TheNetwork Executive Coordinator Nadeem Iqbal said that the aim of the project is to mobilise consumers and link them with the lawyers that they can get efficient and cost effective legal help. Another objective, he said, is to motive lawyers to take their own initiatives and go for public interest litigation.


He briefed the participants about the nature of three types of regulations — self, co and third party — to make the consumer redress framework more effective in consumer sector.

He said that NEPRA and OGRA laws provide for the effective contribution of consumers in the open hearings for price determination of the tariff but the consumer representation is negligible.


There has a consumer court operational in Islamabad where a judge with an additional responsibility can be approached. The workshop has a specific focus on energy sector laws and regulations as in the recent past the twin cities have experienced violent electricity protests taking the public life to standstill. Thousands of people suffered during those protests.


In his presentation of the participants, TheNetwork Project Coordinator Ms. Amna Bano said that the Consumer Protection Law of Islamabad needs to be seen as a whole. It also requires an active Consumer Protection Council mainly consisting of bureaucrats and eminent people from the capital and the associations of consumers. The litigation in the Consumer Court is only done after exhausting all these forums. But he lamented that in Islamabad there is no Consumer Council as per law. “Until and unless the Islamabad Consumer Protection Council is formed the Consumer Courts cannot provide redress effectively to the Consumers under the Islamabad Consumer Protection Act 1995”.


She also stressed upon the need for the formation of a Consumer Watchdog Association in Islamabad Capital Territory to safeguard the consumer rights of the citizens.


As many as 25 participants from Islamabad District courts participated in the daylong training workshop which familiarised them with the consumer protection laws and the mechanism to enforce them.


The participants were given orientation on the concept of Consumer Protection and Consumer Protection Legislation in Pakistan. Also a detailed session was dedicated to the Islamabad Consumer Protection Act 1995 and the relevant Energy sector regulations. Participants of the workshop resolved to effectively implement the Islamabad Consumer Protection Act 1995. The participants vowed, that, “they would be the torch bearers to spread the awareness and understanding of the consumer protection legislation among their clients and the society in general”.


Towards the end of the training the participants exhibited strong understanding of the consumer protection laws. An Energy Lawyers Association was formed among the participants to provide a well conversant platform for the consumers for the efficient and effective grievance redressal.


“I have been practicing in Islamabad courts for the last 5 years but its only after attending TheNetwork training on consumer protection law that I came to know that there is a consumer judge in the Islamabad courts where we can go into litigation on any consumer related issue such as faulty gas and electricity bills or non availability of gas etc,” said Ms Kulsoom Rafique, female lawyer practicing in Islamabad courts.

Courtesy:  The News

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