The High Court on Sunday directed the Bangladesh Standards and Testing Institution (BSTI) to examine food products on random basis throughout the country.
A division bench comprising Justice Sheikh Hassan Arif and Justice Razik-al-Jalil passed the order following a writ petition filed by Conscious Consumers Society on May 9.The court said it have taken cognizance of the allegations of underhand dealings by some officials in testing food, especially after banning 52 substandard food items last month.
There are allegations of underhand dealings by some officials in conducting test and re-test of food products, the court said and warned that such officials will be sent to jail directly.
“If we find any proof of anybody’s involvement in underhand dealing, we will send him/her directly to jail instead of the Anti-Corruption Commission,” the court told a lawyer for the BSTI.
The court also asked the National Directorate of Consumer Rights Protection (DNCRP) to open a hotline in two months to provide emergency services for consumers.
Before the hotline is in place, the NDCRP has to provide consumers with 24-hour emergency services through a phone number of the directorate (01777753668), 333 of the Prime Minister’s Office and the national hotline 999.
All the phone numbers, including the one of the NDCRP, should be made accessible to consumers for 24 hours, including weekends and holidays, the court said.Earlier, the HC summoned Food Safety Authority Chairman Mohammed Mahfuzul Haque to clarify why he will not be punished for ignoring its order to confiscate or destroy substandard food products.
Accordingly, Mahfuzul Haque Haque appeared before the court on Sunday and sought unconditional apology. The court exonerated him from the contempt charge.
The HC, however, warned the Food Safety Authority chairman not to disobey its directives further and asked him to continue drive against adulterated food.
The Food Safety Authority, however, pointed out its limited manpower in conducting drive. The court then suggested that the food safety body take assistance from other ‘government agencies’ to continue anti-adulteration drive.