SC endorses Punjab ban on new sugar mills

Published: July 26, 2016
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The court also observed the provincial government’s decision was taken after considerable deliberations and was in conformity with the advice of relevant experts on agriculture, food and industries. PHOTO: EXPRESS

The court also observed the provincial government’s decision was taken after considerable deliberations and was in conformity with the advice of relevant experts on agriculture, food and industries. PHOTO: EXPRESS

ISLAMABAD: The top court has rejected the appeal of sugar mill owners against the Punjab government’s ban on setting up new sugar mills in the province, deeming the provincial administration’s decision in public and national interest.

On December 6, 2006, the Punjab Industries Department had imposed a ban on establishing new sugar mills or enlarging the installed capacity of the existing mills in the province. The Lahore High Court had dismissed the plea of sugar mill owners on February 26, 2013.

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On Monday, the two-judge apex court bench comprising Justice Ejaz Afzal Khan and Justice Qazi Faez Isa rejected the sugar mill owners’ petition as well.

Justice Qazi Isa while authoring the 30-page verdict ruled that the decision to ban new sugar mills was not to benefit or punish anyone but to ensure the organised and planned growth of the industry.

Endorsing the ban, the court observed that if the provincial government had not finally acted against the continuous growth of sugar mills, it would have further devastated the environment and food security and undermined the economy as well.

“Since every application for setting up of a new sugar mill or the expansion of an existing one would be contrary to the national interest, good governance and transparency mandated the issuance of the impugned notification that removed all discretion and prevented either favouritism or victimisation,” the order stated.

The judges dismissed the petitioners’ arguments that the ban violated Article 18 of the Constitution. “When the government stopped the expansion of the sugar business, it did not offend Article 18 since the rights guaranteed thereunder are ‘subject to such qualifications’ that have been ‘prescribed by law’,” the order reads.

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The bench, however, noted that the current Punjab chief minister resorted to favouritism as a number of sugar mills were given permission to be set up despite the high court’s judgment.

Two new sugar mills were set up in the Muzaffargarh and Rahim Yar Khan districts after the December 2006 notification, which had disallowed new mills.

“These facts came to the fore incidentally and are not the subject matter of these appeals. Therefore, it would not be appropriate to state anything further, as the same may be subject matter for investigation and litigation,” the judgment stated.

The court also observed the provincial government’s decision was taken after considerable deliberations and was in conformity with the advice of relevant experts on agriculture, food and industries.

Published in The Express Tribune, July 26th, 2016.

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Reader Comments (7)

  • Over Burdened Citizen
    Jul 26, 2016 - 9:01AM

    Wow…importing sugar is in the National Interest of Country but setting up new sugar mills is not…Hats off to the wisdom of these judges and Punjab Govt.Recommend

  • Logic
    Jul 26, 2016 - 10:29AM

    If there is so much interest in setting up sugar mills, time to eliminate regulation / subsidies that are encouraging this behaviour?Recommend

  • Haji Atiya
    Jul 26, 2016 - 10:50AM

    @Over Burdened Citizen:
    No, eating less sugar is in the interest of everyone who believe in a health-conscious society.Recommend

  • Whatacountry
    Jul 26, 2016 - 10:56AM

    I didn’t know Judges could also work for political parties or their policies! Recommend

  • Observer
    Jul 26, 2016 - 11:00AM

    It is this mindset of these primitive old judges and lobbies that have put the country backward and stuck in dark ages. Shame Recommend

  • Adnan
    Jul 26, 2016 - 1:24PM

    It is not the job of the court or the government to restrict competition, and give monopoly to print money to a select few that are already in this business.Recommend

  • Mohammed
    Jul 26, 2016 - 3:41PM

    If anybody needed evidence of a corrupt judiciary, then you have it here. PK is run for the benefit of 3000 people and here is the evidence.Recommend

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