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HC finds allegation of money exchange before food testing

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17th-Jun-2019       
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Staff Reporter :
The High Court (HC) on Sunday observed that there is an allegation of money exchange before testing of any food item.
"If we find any proof of anybody's involvement in exchanging money, we will send him or her directly to jail instead of sending the person to the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC)," the court told the lawyer for Bangladesh Standards and Testing Institution (BSTI) during hearing a writ petition on the issue.
The HC bench of Justice Sheikh Hassan Arif and Justice Razik Al-Jalil passed the observation and also exempted Bangladesh Food Safety Authority (BFSA) Chairman Mahfuzul Haque from contempt of court rule after he offered unconditional apology before the High Court for not complying with its order.
Mahfuzul Haque appeared before the court and offered apology for not complying with the HC's May 12 order.
The High Court on May 12 directed the authorities concerned to immediately remove from the market 52 food products which were found substandard by Bangladesh Standard Testing Institution (BSTI).
The court ordered the authorities concerned to stop production, selling or marketing of these substandard products and to take appropriate legal action against the persons responsible for producing, selling, marketing and supplying the products.
BSTI, Bangladesh Food Safety Authority (BFSA) and the Directorate of National Consumer Rights Protection were asked to take necessary measures to this effect.
In response to a writ petition filed by Conscious Consumers Society (CCS), the HC bench ordered Bangladesh Food Safety Authority and Directorate of National Consumer Rights Protection to submit a report before this court in 10 days after complying with the order.
On May 23, the HC rebuked the BFSA Chairman, summoned him, and issued the contempt of court rule against him for not complying with its order to get 52 substandard food items off the shelves.
During the hearing, the BFSA Chairman was asked to conduct drives against food adulteration throughout the year with the help of other concerned agencies.
The court also ordered Directorate of National Consumers Rights Protection to launch in two months a round-the-clock hotline so that the consumers communicate with it for filing their complaints on food adulteration.
Barrister Shihab Uddin Khan argued for the writ petitioner.
On May 9, 2019, Conscious Consumers Society (CCS), a rights organization, filed the writ petition with the HC as it did not get any reply to its legal notice served on May 6 for seizing or withdrawing the substandard food products from the markets all over the country.
The rights group on May 6 served a legal notice to authorities concerned asking them to seize or withdraw the substandard food products from markets within 24 hours.
Barrister Shihab Uddin Khan sent the legal notice on behalf of CCS. He also requested the BSTI to take legal action against companies producing the substandard items within 24 hours.

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