HC asks Prothom Alo to pay Tk 1 lakh to Apex worker Hamida

New Age Online

The High Court on Tuesday directed the Prothom Alo authority to pay Tk one lakh in a month to Hamida Akhter, a worker of Apex Footwear, for defaming her ‘personal and social image’ by publishing a ‘false report’ that she gave birth to a baby in a toilet of the factory being denied her maternity leave.
A bench of Justice Quazi Reza-Ul Hoque and Justice Abu Taher Md Saifur Rahman also said that the Apex authority can also take legal action against the leading daily Prothom Alo for the damage of the company’s reputation if it feels.
The bench issued the directive after disposed of the suo moto rule it had issued on May 10 asking the Apex Footwear managing director Syed Nasim Manzur, its manager (admin) Kazi Md Abdul Aziz and assistant supervisor Ratan Chandra Rabi Das to explain how Hamida could give birth to a baby in the factory toilet being denied leave as reported by national daily Prothom Alo on May 9.
The three Apex officials in separate affidavits submitted to the court on Sunday described the newspaper report as ‘misleading, motivated and false’ published with an ‘ulterior motive’ to serve the interests of vested quarters.
They had informed the High Court that Hamida, a junior lasting operator at the company’s factory at Harinhati, Kaliakair suffered ‘miscarriage’ after fainting in a factory toilet.
The affidavits had described the photograph of a week old non-Bangali baby printed by Prothom Alo as misleading and said that a three or four month old foetus does not even take the shape of a baby.
Apex Footwear officials in three separate affidavits had explained to the High Court that they did not know that factory worker Hamida Akhter was pregnant as she did not inform the company about it.
The affidavits also quoted Hamida as telling a five-member probe committee of Apex led by its deputy general manager Fazlil Bakey that her miscarriage was an accident caused by the menstruation problems she had been suffering for three or four months.
The affidavits informed the court that the managing editor of Prothom Alo in a letter apologized to the Apex Footwear chairman Syed Manzur Elahi.
A government inquiry report submitted to the court over the incident had also supported the findings of the Apex affidavits.
Supreme Court lawyer Md Asaduzzaman appeared for the Apex officials.

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