For quite a long time now, there has been a trend of counterfeiting of various products in our society. With globalisation in place and free market economy bubbling up every new day, counterfeiting brewed up quite fast in the recent decades creating and precipitating our worries about using the products for our living. Whether basic toiletries or food items; whether electronic gadgets or construction materials, whether medicines or even amusement gears, counterfeit products seem to be dominating and governing consumer choice with minimum concern for ethics, legality and of course, safety and sustainability.
While counterfeiting has been free rolling, mostly due to consumer ignorance and absence of any legal action from the concerned authorities, another menace is gaining pace which, if unchecked, could dent deep our socio economic fabric. This is the abuse of government seal by some quarters for their vested interest that could be political, social or financial. Violating the existing law, they are using this in their communication materials, social events and even in their formal correspondence to establish that they are one of the government agencies.
There are several endeavours or institutions or establishments in the country where they poured in as assistance to the government. Does it mean that they can freely use the state emblems in their communications unless otherwise authorised by the proper authorities? Unfortunately, some are already engaged in such improper practices which is tantamount to public deception and of course, gross violation of all ethical and moral standards, leave aside honouring the holistic enactment of the constitutional provisions.
A government seal or the emblem is a highly reserved insignia. It is constitutionally mentioned about the usage of the seal. Article 3 of the Bangladesh Names and Emblems (Prevention of unauthorized use) Order 1972 states that using the official seal or emblem of the government for the purpose of trade, business or any professional work is a punishable offence.
This is not any specific obligation in our country only but across the whole. In the USA, falsely making, forging, counterfeiting, altering, mutilating or even engaging in any activity with fraudulent intent to use the official seal of the government, will lead to severe penalties and punishment. In India, under The Emblems and Names (Prevention of Improper Use) Act 1950, the government has increased manifold the punishment for illegal and inappropriate use of any kind of use of national emblems including the seal, for commercial gains. All these measures are effectively checking the abuse of government seal or any other emblem ensuring national security, good governance and above all, reassuring safety, legality and fundamental rights to the citizens.
At a time when the country is on a fast track of economic development, it is imperative that we remain vigilant and active in deterring any one or any group from abusing state insignia for individual or group gains be they political, social or economic. Those who have breached the law or intended to be in such a practice, must be brought to book and given exemplary punishment. This will play a key role in establishing good and responsible governance, a strong pillar for accelerating our socio economic progress and setting the foundation for sustainability.
The author is a freelance writer and CSR Consultant.