SC upholds plea not to force any citizen take Brazilian wheat

SC upholds plea not to force any citizen take Brazilian wheat

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The Appellate Division of the Supreme Court yesterday upheld the High Court observation directing the government not to force any citizen to accept the imported Brazilian wheat and to take back the wheat that was distributed across the country, but returned for being sub-standard.
After rejecting an appeal filed by the government against the HC order, the four-member bench of the Appellate Division headed by Chief Justice Surendra Kumar Sinha passed the order.
It its order, the apex court said that the government’s petition is rejected considering that the petition was ‘not being pressed’ properly.Earlier, on July 9 the chamber judge of the Appellate Division Justice Hasan Foyez Siddique stayed the High Court verdict that directed the government to take back Brazilian wheat that was distributed across the country, but returned for being sub-standard.
The chamber judge court order came a day after the HC order that had said if anyone, any department or organisation wanted to return the distributed wheat for being sub-standard, the government was bound to accept those without any question.
The HC had also said the government could not force any department or organisation to procure the remaining portion of the imported wheat if they were unwilling to do so.
The HC bench comprising Justices Quazi Reza-Ul-Haque and Abu Taher Md Saifur Rahman had issued the directives after disposing of a writ petition challenging the legality of the Brazilian wheat by branding it as sub-standard.
The bench, however, maintained that test reports have revealed the wheat was fit for human consumption. A bulk of the wheat has been consumed already and there was no report of illness or causalities that would make the wheat unfit for human consumption.
But doubts on the quality persisted as insects were found in the wheat, the court added.
According to food ministry sources, the food office has already distributed over 2.5 lakh tonnes of the wheat for the government’s safety net schemes such as food-for-work and test relief as well as ration for the police.
Sources said the food office already distributed over 1.5 lakh tonnes of the wheat for the safety net schemes — including Food for Work, Test Relief — and also as ration for the police.
Attorney General Mahbubey Alam told reporters that the government can distribute the remaining wheat to an organisations if anyone willing to take it.
On June 28, BCSIR reported that “all the supplied samples contained higher amount of shrunken and broken kernels than the supplied specifications”. It also said that the damaged grain percentage was also higher in all samples, except the wheat collected from Kurigram, Narail, Gaibandha and Sirajganj.
In response to a HC directive, the DG of food department had on July 5 certified that the 2.5 lakh tonnes of wheat imported from Brazil were “consumable as the samples were found to be within the admissible limits set in the contract specification”.
The import cost of the wheat was around $46 million or Tk 355 crore. A food ministry official said 90 per cent of payment has already been made.
Advocate Joynal Abedin appeared for the writ petitioner and barrister Shanjid assisted him. – Staff Reporter

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