The High Court Division on Sunday asked the Directorate of National Consumer Rights Protection to hold countrywide drive against all sorts of violations of the rights of consumers.
The court expressed concern over marketing substandard food products even in the rural areas with none to check the serious crimes affecting public health.
A bench of Justice Sheikh Hassan Arif and Justice Razik-Al-Jalil also directed DNCRP to widen its drive throughout the country against any violation of consumer rights including illegal bus fare hikes, selling of adulterated foods and medicines and the lawyers charging high fees from clients.
The court directed the DNCRP to open round the clock hotline within two months to listen to consumers’ complaints.
The HC directed the DNCRP to let consumers’ lodge complaints by dialling 01777753668 or 999 or 333 round the clock until new hotlines were opened.
The DNCRP had submitted these numbers to the court.
The court directed the Bangladesh Standards and Testing Institution to continue to examine and re-examine food products at random throughout the country to find out whether or not they meet the standards.
The court said that there were allegations of underhand dealings before the tests and the re-tests were done by the BSTI.
The BSTI was warned that its officials, irrespective of their positions, would be sent straight to jails and not to the ACC on receipt of further irregularities.
The bench directed the respondents to submit compliance reports at the next hearing on August 19.
The court discharged Bangladesh Food Safety Authority’s chairman Mohammad Mahfuzul Hoque from the contempt of court charge for a time being on the condition that he would never flout its orders and continue the drives against substandard food products and keep the court informed about the drives.
BFSA chairman Mahfuz was on his legs for half an hour as punishment for ignoring the HC directives.
The BFSA chairman also apologised for his failure to remove or destroy 52 substandard food products of 43 companies.
On May 23 the bench issued the contempt rule against Mahfuzul asking him to explain by June 16 why he would not be punished for contempt of the court for not complying with its May 12 order to remove and destroy the substandard products and take action against the manufacturers.
The bench had issued the directives after hearing public interest litigation writ petition filed by Conscious Consumers’ Society secretary Palash Mahmud.
Shihab Uddin Khan appeared for the petitioner while Kamalul Alam and Faridul Islam for the BFSA.
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