Nepal’s Supreme Court issued an interim order on April 21, 2019 rejecting a writ petition that demanded a ban on the production and advertisement of alcohol products.
The petition was filed by advocate Dilli Prasad Neupane. He argued that Section 45 of the Public Health Services Act 2018 and Section 6 of the Consumers Protection Act 2018 contained provisions to stop the production and advertisement of alcohol products in Nepal. Mr Prasad Neupane filed the petition against the government, various major media stations, and alcohol companies, including the Office of the Prime Minister and the Council of Ministers, the health ministry, the information ministry, Gorkha Brewery, Nepal Republic Media, Kantipur Publications, Nepal News Network, and Carlsberg Group, among other organizations.
Media stations and government authorities argued that alcohol advertising in the media was done as provided by various laws related to information and communication. They further argued that banning the production and advertisement of alcoholic beverages was not mentioned in the Public Health Act 2018.
Then the joint bench of justices Sapana Pradhan Malla and Prakash Kumar Dhungana issued the interim order rejecting the petition.
Alcohol policy in Nepal
Currently, Nepal has some laws to protect people from harm caused by alcohol products. These include:
- Restricted opening hours for licensed alcohol outlets between 10:00 AM to 10:00 PM.
- Minimum age for alcohol use of 18 years.
- Licensing required for outlets to sell alcohol.
- Quality control.
- Enforcing a card system.
- Restrictions on alcohol advertising.
- A cap on the production of alcohol in a given year.
- Prohibition of home-made alcohol products such as “Aila”.
Communities in Nepal have been calling for better protections against alcohol harm. One important improvement that communities are requesting is the introduction of a comprehensive written alcohol policy in Nepal.
The government planned to adopt a an evidence-based alcohol policy encompassing recommendations by the World Health Organization’s SAFER package and in line with the Global Alcohol Strategy. But this policy fell through in the last minute and was never adopted.
For further reading
Consumer Protection Act, 2075 Policy Brief
Published: January, 2020, by the Samriddhi Foundation
Legislations for consumer protection regulate the terms of transactions between producers and consumers in the economy and thus have an important bearing on overall social and economic development. While it is imperative to create a conducive environment where producers can freely engage in productive activities and create employment opportunities for the masses and create wealth in general, it is also equally important to uphold the consumers’ Constitutional right to quality goods and services. Adhering to this very principle, the Act has tried to incorporate many aspects of consumer protection like protection from hazardous goods and services; promotion and protection of consumers’ economic interest; their access to adequate information; education; effective redressal mechanisms; and formation of independent consumer groups.
The Public Health Service Act, 2075 (2018)
The Nepal Law Commission provides an overview of the act, including the preamble.
Whereas, it is expedient to make necessary legal provisions for implementing the right to get free basic health service and emergency health service guaranteed by the Constitution of Nepal and establishing access of the citizens to health service by making it regular, effective, qualitative and easily available, Now, therefore, be it enacted by the Federal Parliament.The Public Health Service Act, 2075 (2018)
Advertisement (Regulation) Act, 2019
The Advertisement (Regulation) Act 2019 (the “Act”) was published in the Nepal Gazette on 25 October 2019. The Act is the primary legislation that regulates advertisement and marketing of goods, services, program or event in Nepal. The Act is the first of its kind, and aims to bring reform in the regime of advertisement in Nepal.