BLAST and another vs. Bangladesh and others [‘Iodized Salt’ Case]

Writ Petition No. 1043 of 1999

High Court Division of the Supreme Court of Bangladesh

Facts:
On undertaking laboratory tests which revealed that salt produced by eight manufacturers of iodized salt did not contain the required level of iodine as stipulated under law, and given that lack of adequate iodine was known to affect the normal physical and mental growth of children by causing Iodine Deficiency Diseases, BLAST filed a writ petition challenging the inaction and failure of the authorities to ensure compliance with the Iodine Deficiency Disease Prevention Act, 1989 and Rules, 1994.

Arguments: The petitioners argued that because of iodine deficiency every year around 250,000 people become mentally impaired, around 33,000 infants die within the first month of their life and around 41,000 stillbirths occur. The failure of the respondents to maintain proper and adequate monitoring mechanisms for the manufacturers of edible salt and their failure to prosecute the unlicensed and defaulting manufacturers of iodized salt in accordance of the provisions of the Iodine Deficiency Disease Prevention Act, 1989 and Rules, 1994 constitutes a failure to discharge their statutory obligation under the Act and Rules.

Order: The High Court delivered judgment on 14.12.2004 and directed the Ministry of Health and related bodies to require licensed salt manufacturers to include the minimum iodine content in salt, to prevent unregistered manufacturers from producing, marketing and selling salt for human consumption, to submit a list of registered manufacturers and also to collect samples of edible salt and submit an analysis report to the Registrar of Supreme Court twice a year.

Laws Cited:
Iodine Deficiency Disease Prevention Act, 1989 and Rules, 1994

Status: Judgment delivered

Reported:
25 BLD (2005) 83

 

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