The upper court of Bangladesh on Sunday issued a rule asking the government to explain in four weeks why it should not be directed to set up breastfeeding and baby care corners at all work and public places including shopping malls, airports, bus stops and railway stations across the country.
The High Court [HC] also asked the authorities concerned to clarify why the women and children affairs ministry would not be ordered to formulate a guideline to establish breastfeeding and baby care corners at public places.
The HC bench with Justice Moyeenul Islam Chowdhury and Justice Khandaker Diliruzzaman in chair came up with the rule following a writ petition filed by Advocate Ishrat Hossain in the form of public interest litigation.
The name of her nine-month-old child Umair Bin Sadi was also mentioned as a plaintiff in the petition.
According to the rule, the cabinet, women and children affairs ministry, health, social welfare and civil aviation and tourism secretaries have been given four weeks to respond to the rule.
Lawyer Abdul Halim argued the case for the petitioners while Deputy Attorney General Saifuddin Khaled represented the state.
Citing to the petition lawyer Halim said: "She [petitioner Ishrat] went to Cox's Bazar with her child [recently] but her US Bangla Airlines flight back to Dhaka was delayed for five hours. During her long wait, she couldn't find any breastfeeding corner which naturally left her in a difficult position."
Although most public places in Bangladesh have designated smoking areas, there are no breastfeeding or baby care zones anywhere in the country, according to the lawyer.
The writ petition was submitted to the HC on October 24 saying that the mothers feel uneasy to feed their children at the workplaces, shopping malls, airports, bus stoppages and railway stations as there is no specific breastfeeding and baby care corners.
Citing a 2009 direction of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to authorities concerned for establishing breastfeeding corners and day care centers at all public and private workplaces in order to ensure safe motherhood and to grow up the children in a beautiful and healthy environment, she accused that the directives yet to be fully implemented.