Shafi, a native of Kollam Karunagapally, who is an employee of a bakhala in Abaha, was sentenced to deportation. There is a lifetime ban on re-entering Saudi Arabia. Return from Saudi Arabia after paying a fine of one thousand riyals (about Rs. 22,000) imposed by the court.
The local court imposed a fine of 12,000 riyals (Rs 2.65 lakh) on the owner of the shop. The shop owner and Shafi appealed to the Supreme Court to have the sentence reduced, but the result was disappointing. An appeal was made to the Supreme Court in Riyadh following the crisis. But the Supreme Court also upheld the lower court verdict.
The Ministry of Commerce found that the biscuits recovered from the shop were expired and adulterated. Officials also reported that they put it up for sale knowing that it was expired and of poor quality.
When the expired biscuit was found, the officials called the shop owner and informed him about the violation found in the establishment. The officers returned after signing a paper with Shafi as a salesman.
A few days later a message was received from the court asking him to appear in person. Shafi was fined 1,000 riyals and deported while the owner of the establishment was fined 12,000 riyals when he appeared in court. Even though the legal battle was fought till the Supreme Court, there was no relief. Had to return at the final exit after paying a fine and barring entry.
It is pointed out that even though selling substandard and expired goods is an offense punishable by severe penalties under Saudi law, it is rare for a Bakhala employee to be sentenced to such a severe punishment. Apart from the owners of the establishment, the Supreme Court judgment is a warning that those working as salesmen will be subjected to severe action if they are not careful.