The Lahore High Court (LHC) has stopped the government from taking any coercive measures against the sugar mills – including those owned by PTI’s disgruntled leader Jahangir Tareen – which moved the court against the government’s decision to fix sugar prices.
LHC’s Justice Rasaal Hasan Syed on Tuesday also issued notices to the federal and provincial governments while hearing the petition filed by four sugar mills. However, the federal government was quick to challenge the LHC single-bench’s decision in the Supreme Court.
The petition claimed that the government set the price of the commodity on basis of a so-called determination of facts which was “patently erroneous and deliberately manipulated in order to arrive at a pre-conceived result
The petition requested the court to declare a notification issued by the government on July 30 illegal.
It claimed that the assumption and exercise of jurisdiction by the federation and its functionaries – followed by the provincial functionaries – are in violation to the provisions of the Constitution.
It requested the court to suspend operation of the notification till a final decision of the writ petitions.
“And respondents (provincial government, cane commissioner, secretary food department and others) be directed to restrain from adopting any coercive measures against the petitioners, their sugar stock, status quo be directed to be maintained.”
It also asked the court to impose certain costs and outlays that are incurred by the petitioners as part of the chain leading from procurement of raw sugarcane to the production and delivery of refined sugar but which have been entirely ignored by the respondents in the determination of arbitrary price
The sugar mills claimed that the order is clearly violative of the orders of the LHC on April 7,2021, May 21,2021 and July 23, 2021. The LHC had clearly stated that the parties had agreed on all elements of the price except the impact of price of molasses and overheads.
“The respondents illegally and without any basis and in violation of directions of this court issued the impugned notifications fixing the price on the basis totally new criteria on which previously they had agreed with the petitioners.
“In this regard it mentioned that on April 7,2021 the respondents agreed that the price of cane per 40kgs was Rs265. However, respondents while fixing the price of sugar in the impugned notification changed it to Rs.259.
“Similarly, the sugar recovery rate was enhanced from 9.39% to 9.87% although there was no dispute on it as can be seen from the previous proceedings in various writ petitions and others passed therein,” the petition said.
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