Breastfeeding corners at work, public places: HC

The High Court on Sunday issued a rule asking the authorities concerned to explain as to why directives should not be given to set up breastfeeding and baby-care corners at workplaces, airports, bus stops, railway stations and shopping malls. It also wanted to know why the Women and Children Affairs Ministry should not be directed to formulate guidelines to establish breastfeeding corners in public places and private institutions.

The cabinet, women and children affairs, health, social welfare, and civil aviation and tourism secretaries were, among others, asked to reply to the rule within four weeks. The HC bench of Justice Moyeenul Islam Chowdhury and Justice Khandaker Diliruzzaman came up with the rule after hearing a writ filed in the form of public interest litigation.

On October 24, nine-month-old baby Umair Bin Sadi and his mother Advocate Israt Hasan filed the writ seeking a safe atmosphere for breastfeeding. Barrister M Abdul Halim together with Advocate Rashidul Hasan and Jamiul Haque Faisal stood for the writ petitioners. This is for the first time that a nine-month-old boy filed the writ petition for which he had to take permission.

Israt Hasan said mothers have to undergo sufferings for lack of breastfeeding corners at many workplaces, bus stops and railway stations. “Mothers can’t feed their babies for lack of a congenial atmosphere and fearing sexual harassment,” she said. A report published in a newspaper on the necessity of breastfeeding corners was also attached with the writ.

According to the report, the benefit of breastfeeding and homemade food for children is enormous. It said the Prime Minister in 2009 directed for setting up daycare centres and breastfeeding centres at all private organisations so that babies can grow up in a healthy environment. However, the directives are yet to be implemented.