Illegal hoarding of goods and causing crisis: Maximum punishment is death penalty

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Illegal hoarding of goods and causing crisis: Maximum punishment is death penalty

Any person who distributes, transfers, buys or sells sacks or bags filled with foodstuffs in government warehouses without a seal issued by the Food Department or a seal marked as having been distributed shall be punished with imprisonment for a maximum of five years or with a fine of Tk 10 lakh or with both.
Shahadat Hossain Reton:
The days of illegal hoarders are over. Hoarders creating artificial crisis by hoarding consumer goods are punishable by death. At times unscrupulous traders create artificial crisis in the market by illegally hoarding products and loot huge profits by increasing the prices of products. An organized business syndicate has been doing such work for a long time, but the government could not take any effective action. That is why new laws are being made.
This provision has been added in the draft of the Production, Storage, Transfer, Transport, Supply, Distribution and Marketing of Foodstuffs (Prevention of Harmful Activities) Act-2022. All other offenses are said to carry life imprisonment and fine. Recently, the Ministry of Food published the draft of the new law. Major changes are being made in the draft law in this regard after the in-principle approval in the cabinet. Such crimes will be tried in special courts.
It is known that the draft law was approved in principle in the cabinet meeting on April 18 last year. The maximum punishment then is five years imprisonment or a fine of Tk 10 lakh or both. The draft is published on the website of the ministry and everyone's opinion is being taken. It will then be sent back to the cabinet. If the Cabinet approves it will go to Parliament. If this law is passed, 'Food (Special Court) Act, 1956' and 'The Foodgrains Supply (Prevention of Prejudicial Activity) Ordinance 1979' will be repealed.
What is in the new draft law?
The draft of the new law states that a person who hoards more than the prescribed amount of foodstuff or disobeys any instructions of the government regarding hoarding shall be punished with death or imprisonment for life or with rigorous imprisonment for a maximum of 14 years and fine. Provided that the person accused of such offense shall be liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding three months and fine, if he can prove that he hoarded without any motive for financial or other gain.
If the government collects food stored in the government warehouse legally or illegally during procurement of food, supplies imported food in place of food produced in the country or sacks or bags filled with food in the government warehouse with old or distributed seals or distributed marks in the government warehouse, imprisonment for a maximum of five years or 10 lakhs shall be punished with a fine of Rs., or both. Any person who distributes, transfers, buys or sells sacks or bags filled with foodstuffs in government warehouses without a seal issued by the Food Department or a seal marked as having been distributed shall be punished with imprisonment for a maximum of five years or with a fine of Tk 10 lakh or with both.

Offenses and penalties relating to production or marketing states- If any person markets any foodstuff produced from an approved variety of foodgrain under a different or fictitious name without mentioning it as a by-product of such variety, by removing or altering any natural ingredient in the foodstuff in whole or in part. manufactures or markets or mixes food with artificial ingredients harmful to human health - but will be punished with imprisonment for a maximum of five years or a fine of up to 10 lakh taka or both.

The draft law also states that if any person creates, prints, publishes, disseminates or distributes any false information or statement relating to the production, storage, transfer, transportation, supply, distribution and marketing of foodstuff, he shall be punished with imprisonment for a maximum of five years or a fine of Rs. or both shall receive the penalty.
How will the judicial proceedings:
There shall be necessary number of Courts for the trial of offences, which shall be called Special Food Courts. Notwithstanding anything contained in the Code of Criminal Procedure, the Government in consultation with the Supreme Court may, by notification in the Official Gazette, designate a Court of First Class Judicial Magistrate or a Metropolitan Magistrate's Court for a metropolitan area as a Food Special Court. If more than one court is determined, local jurisdiction shall be specified for each court.
Crime Diary/National

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