Wednesday, October 16, 2019

What are secretaries for if prime minister has to intervene in every matter? High Court asks

  • Staff Correspondent
    Published: 2019-06-18 21:56:40 BdST


The High Court has questioned honesty and actions of the secretaries, asking what they are for if the prime minister needs to intervene in every matter in reference to the order to transfer a consumer rights official following a raid on an Aarong outlet.

The bench of Justice FRM Nazmul Ahasan and Justice KM Kamrul Kader was hearing a public interest litigation on Tuesday seeking orders to prevent sales of expired drugs when it made the remarks.

“Have you seen how much is Aarong charging for a Tk 700 panjabi? The official who went to stop this was transferred,” ABM Altaf Hossain told the court at one stage of the hearing.

“Why does the prime minister have to give directions in every matter. Have the secrtaries been pocketed by them (entities like Aarong)?” a judge asked. 

“They (secretaries) issued a transfer order during holidays. What a shame! What can I say…? What are they (secretaries) for if the prime minister has to [intervene] in everything? How dirty!” he added.

The judge also said actions such as the transfer of the consumer rights official, which was later halted following Sheikh Hasina’s orders, will demoralise and discourage honest officials.

“Those who did it (issued the transfer order) during holidays should have faced actions,” the judge said.

On June 3, the Directorate of National Consumer Rights Protection or DNCRP shut down an Aarong outlet at Uttara in Dhaka after fining it for ripping customers off.

The outlet was allowed to reopen following its admittance that it was charging the customers higher than the usual prices.

Later in the same night, DNCRP Deputy Director Monjur Mohammad Shahriar, who made headlines for the drives including the one on Aarong, triggered widespread criticism of the government by breaking the news of his transfer to Khulna on social media.

Prime Minister Hasina, who was in Finland on an official visit at the time, stepped in and the order for his transfer was withdrawn the following day.

Public Administration Secretary Faiz Ahmed claimed the transfer order was part of a routine work decided beforehand, not after the drive on Aarong.

Hasina criticised the transfer order of Monjur as “unacceptable” in parliament later.

“Why can’t he run inspections (on entities like Aarong) and make the people aware? Why can’t he have the right to do so?” Hasina asked in parliament on June 12.

“It can’t be that only the small entities will be caught but the rich will be spared for their crimes,” she added.