The bench of Justice FRM Nazmul Ahasan and Justice KM Kamrul Kader made the observation on Tuesday, while hearing a petition on expired medicines at drug stores
Questioning the role of bureaucrats in the transfer of an official of the Directorate of National Consumer Rights Protection (DNCRP) who ordered the shutdown of an Aarong outlet following a drive, the High Court has asked that if the prime minister has to intervene in all matters, then what do the secretaries do?
The bench of Justice FRM Nazmul Ahasan and Justice KM Kamrul Kader made the observation on Tuesday, while hearing a petition on expired medicines at drug stores.
At one point of the hearing, the court described the transfer of DNCRP’s Dhaka divisional office Deputy Director Monjur Mohammad Shahriar as “shameful.”
“The prime minister had to intervene to revoke the official’s transfer order. Why are the secretaries there, if the premier has to intervene on every matter? Have they [secretaries] been bought off [by large businesses]?” it said.
The court also said that no action was taken against the officials behind the transfer, and added: “These incidents will demoralise honest public servants.”
On June 3, the Public Administration Ministry issued an order transferring Monjur to the Roads and Highways Department, Khulna zone office, as estate and law officer.
Monjur ordered the shutdown of Aarong’s Uttara flagship store and fined it Tk4.5 lakh earlier that day, following a drive.
The outlet was allowed to reopen after authorities paid the fine and admitted the mistake regarding discrepancies in product pricing. He led major drives against adulteration at other companies, before and during the Ramadan.
The news of Monjur’s transfer drew a lot of flak from consumers and rights activists, both on social and mass media, after he shared it on his Facebook page. The order was revoked the next day.
He had also livestreamed his drive against fake and adulterated goods during Ramadan on Facebook.
On June 12, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, in an oblique reference to Monjur’s transfer, also said in parliament that the transfer order was unacceptable.
Without mentioning any names, she said: “I was abroad during the Ramadan. A step was taken against an officer after he took action against some major business entities.
“It was in no way acceptable to me, and I am saying this again: he will be given the same charge again, and he will continue leading the anti-adulteration drives.”