HC asks govt to stop use of chemical in foodsStaff Correspondent
The High Court on Sunday directed the government to explain in two weeks why it should not be directed to take effective measures to stop the use of toxic chemicals in food stuff.
The bench of Justice Hasan Foez Siddique and Justice Zafar Ahmed also directed the authorities to explain why it should not be directed to make provision for giving exemplary punishment to those who would be found guilty of using poisonous chemicals in food stuff.
The court also directed the government to explain why it should not be directed to submit a report on the steps taken in pursuance of the court order for preventing use of harmful chemicals in all kinds of eatable commodities including medicine and soft drinks.
The health secretary, home secretary, environment secretary, law secretary and director general of health services were asked to answer the rule.
The court passed the order after hearing a public interest litigation filed by Md Shawkat Ali of Lake Circus in the capital, seeking necessary directives to stop the use of chemicals in the eatables, especially fruits and sweets.
Petitioner counsel ABM Nurul Islam argued that unscrupulous traders commit offence more than the killing because they (the traders) are killing thousands of people by helping spread of fatal disease selling chemically-treated food stuff and garments.
The commodities are treated with chemicals like formalin, melamine, carbide, burned Mobil, sulfur oxide, Urea and poisonous colours, he added.
The lawyer also referred to a seminar organised by World Watch Society and Human Rights Organisation recently where physician Ahmed Ali of Shahid Suhrawardi Medical College in Dhaka stated that chemically treated food stuff, fruits and garments caused disease like cancer, liver cirrhosis and kidney failure as well as allergies and asthma.
Earlier on February 29, another High Court bench in a judgment directed the police to file criminal cases under the Special Powers Act, 1974 against those using chemicals to ripen or preserve fruits and sell them.
According to the act, the maximum punishment for the offence is death penalty.
The court delivered verdict after hearing a writ petition filed by Human Rights and Peace for Bangladesh seeking necessary directive on the government to stop adulteration of foods with chemicals.
The organisation lawyer, Manzill Murshid, told New Age that the government was yet act in accordance with the verdict.
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