Why should policy not be enacted for their development?
The High Court yesterday issued a rule asking the government to explain why it should not be directed to formulate a regulation to ensure physical and mental development of children living in condemned cells with their mothers.
It also ordered the authorities concerned to inquire about the condition of 10-month-old Mahida, who has been living with her mother, Husna Akter, in the condemned cell of Habiganj district prison. Husna was convicted in a criminal case on October 26.
The court asked to submit a report by January 18.
Inspector general of prisons and Habiganj jail authorities have been asked to comply with the directive.
HC also asked respondents to explain why their inaction to ensure sufficient food, a healthy environment, and other needs for Mahida should not be declared illegal.
The rule's respondents included secretaries at the ministries of home, law, women and children affairs, IG (prisons), DIG (prisons) of Sylhet, and inspector of Habiganj prison.
HC bench of Justice Naima Haider and Justice Kazi Zinat Hoque issued the rule following a writ petition filed by Supreme Court lawyer Md Tanvir Ahmed.
He filed it on December 14 following a newspaper report under the headline "Fashir cell e kemon achhe 10 masher Mahida (How is 10-month-old Mahida doing in a death cell)" on November 30.
The report said Mahida has been living with her mother in a 10/10 feet condemned cell, which has a 14-rod iron gate but no door. The cell's bathroom has a four-foot-high wall, along with a broken door.
Mahida has been physically and mentally weak and lost two-kg weight in a month due to a lack of adequate feeding facilities in the cell, said the report.
The HC bench fixed January 21 for passing further orders on this matter.