Sindh Consumer Courts

The Sindh High Court (SHC) ordered the establishment of 25 consumer courts around Sindh. This was to improve the consumer rights situation in the province and is a very progressive strategy by the government but despite the promise of the courts becoming functional in ten months, there are reports that these consumer courts are not fully functional due to the lack of facilities along with the lack of awareness in people. Majority of the courts which have been established lack the required infrastructure to continue their activities. At the same time, the consumer courts in Karachi were understaffed, as one clerk, one court reader, and one naib qasid each had been provided. The courts also lack a bailiff.

Despite the progressiveness of the policy, it is lagging behind in implementation due to the absence of a holistic vision to solve the problem. The government took the initiative to protect the consumer but forgot to carry out awareness campaigns which would not only inform people of their rights but also encourage them to fight for their rights in the court of law. “Although, the majority of the people think that starting litigation means spending hundreds of thousands in professional fee for lawyers, filing a case does not even require the complainant to engage a lawyer”, said Karachi Bar Association’s Vice President Advocate Abid Feroze.

This is definitely a job half done which requires the attention of the provincial government. Funds should be allocated for the project if it has been taken up so diligently. If there are no courtrooms for the judges of the consumer courts except the one in South district, which is functioning in a proper, well-furnished courtroom with staff and other infrastructure facilities, the government needs to reconsider whether the directive can even materialise or not.

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