The High Court yesterday directed authorities concerned of the government to set up breastfeeding and baby care corners at all mills and factories, including the garments factories, across the country.
The labour and employment secretary and the director general of the Department of Labour were asked to submit separate reports in two months.
The bench of Justice M Enayetur Rahim and Justice Md Mostafizur Rahman passed the order while hearing a writ petition that said mothers feel uneasy to feed their children at workplaces and other public places.
Yesterday, writ petitioner Advocate Ishrat Hasan prayed to the HC to direct authorities to set up breastfeeding and baby care corners at all mills and factories across the country in line with section 94 of the Labour Act 2006.
Section 94 (1) of the Act says "In every establishment, where 40 (forty) or more female workers are ordinarily employed, one or more suitable rooms shall be provided and maintained for the use of their children who are under the age of 6 (six) years".
"The said rooms shall be adequately furnished and in particular, 1 (one) cot or cradle with bed shall be kept therefore each child, and there shall be at least one chair or any similar seat for the use of each mother while she is feeding or attending to her child, and adequate and suitable toys shall be supplied for the comparatively older children", according to section 98(7) of the Act.
Following the same writ petition, another HC bench on October 27 last year issued a rule asking the authorities to explain why they should not be directed to take necessary steps to set up breastfeeding and baby care corners at all public places.
The court asked the authorities concerned of the government to show cause why the women and children affairs ministry should not be ordered to formulate a guideline to establish breastfeeding and baby care corners at all workplaces, shopping malls, airports, bus stops and railway stations, and public, private and autonomous institutions across the country.
The writ petition said that mothers feel uneasy to feed their children at workplaces and other public places as there is no specific breastfeeding and baby care corner.
It further stated that Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in 2009 had directed the authorities concerned to establish breastfeeding corners and daycare centres at all public and private workplaces to ensure that children are being raised in a healthy environment.
But the PM's directives are yet to be fully implemented, the petition said.
Deputy Attorney General Amit Talukder represented the state.