Increase in milk prices: SHC irked by failure to set up regulatory body

Petitioner says govt not fixing prices of dairy products in line with rules

Our Correspondent April 20, 2016

KARACHI: The Sindh High Court (SHC) came down hard on the government for failing to apprise the court about the establishment of the provincial food pricing and regulatory authority, despite orders.

SHC chief justice Sajjad Ali Shah, who headed the division bench, warned the chief secretary, secretaries of the food, health and local government departments, and Karachi commissioner to file replies by May 3, otherwise all will be summoned to court.

The bench passed these directions while hearing a petition against the increase in dairy products' prices, seeking formation of a task force to regulate them. The petitioner, public interest litigant Muhammad Shehzad, alleged the authorities were not fixing prices of dairy products in accordance with rules.

Shehzad recalled that the SHC had, in August 2013, directed authorities to evolve a mechanism to manage prices of dairy products. He cited the recent arbitrary price increase of the commodity in violation of earlier court orders.

The court was pleaded to direct law enforcement agencies to ensure that milk is sold at Rs70 per litre.

During Wednesday's proceedings, additional advocate-general Mustafa Mahesar said the relevant officials had not returned his requests for the reports. He requested for more time to do the needful.

This irked the bench, which expressed annoyance over the conduct of relevant officials. They directed the officials to submit their reports by May 3, otherwise they would be summoned personally to answer the court's queries.

Published in The Express Tribune, April 21st,  2016.


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