The Appellate Division of the Supreme Court on Sunday directed the government not to distribute the remaining wheat imported from Brazil in the backdrop of questions regarding its quality.
The Brazilian wheat has already been supplied to police, BGB, and Ansar units, besides dealers and mills. It has also been provided for Test relief and Food-for-Work programmes.
The remaining wheat will not be distributed to any organisation or department until further order of the Supreme Court, Attorney General Mahbubey Alam said.
A four-member Appellate Division bench headed by Chief Justice Surendra Kumar Sinha, came up with the order during a hearing on a petition moved by the government seeking a stay on the High Court order.
The bench extended the stay order on the High Court verdict that ordered government to take back Brazil wheat from any organisation willing to return it.
The Attorney General told the court that the government would move a leave-to-appeal petition against the HC verdict after receiving its full verdict - which is yet to be released.
Bangladesh imported 200,000 tonnes of wheat from Brazil at a cost of Tk 4 billion. A daily ran a report, claiming it was "rotten and unfit for human consumption".
On June 29, the High Court had sought a government report on whether the wheat was fit for human consumption following a petition seeking a probe into the import.
The plea, filed by lawyer Pavel Miah, demanded testing of the wheat quality by Bangladesh Standards and Testing Institute (BSTI) and Bangladesh Agriculture Research Institute.
He also sought a probe by the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) to see if the wheat was substandard.
A Food Department report, submitted to the court on July 5, cited earlier tests by the Bangladesh Council of Scientific and Industrial Research, Agriculture Research Institute and the Dhaka University, which had cleared the grain for human consumption.
Although the Food Department report said the wheat was fit for humans, the High Court, in an order on July 8, said the government must take back the controversial wheat if any recipient wanted to hand it back.
The Food Department moved the Supreme Court's Chamber Judge to stay the High Court order, when it was forwarded to the Appellate Division. On Sunday, the appeals bench headed by the Chief Justice heard the matter and stayed the High Court's verdict for two weeks. It also ordered the government to file a leave to appeal petition.
Out of the 205,128 tonnes of the Brazilian wheat, 174,926 tonnes have already been distributed over the last four months, the Food Department had earlier told the High Court.