IHC stops govt from taking action against sugar millers
Orders to sell daily-use item for Rs70 per kg till next hearing
The Islamabad High Court (IHC) provided a major relief to the mill owners on Thursday as it stopped the government and the sugar inquiry commission from taking any action till further hearing which will be held after 10 days, reported 24NewsHD TV channel.
However, the court also ordered to reduce the sugar price and sell the commodity at the rate of Rs70 per kilogramme in the market till next hearing.
Issuing the stay order on a petition filed by the All Pakistan Sugar Mills Association, the IHC issued notices to the federal government, FIA DG Wajid Zia (also the head of sugar inquiry commission), Shehzad Akbar (special assistant to the prime minister on accountability), interior secretary and others.
The counsel for the petitioner, Makhdoom Ali Khan, told IHC Chief Justice Athar Minallah that the powers of the Centre and the provinces were clearly defined separately in the Constitution.
An ad-hoc committee was initially formed in February to probe into the matter but the body wrote to the federal government to give them the status of an inquiry commission, he added in his argument.
During the hearing, Chief Justice Minallah asked the counsel about the reasons mentioned by the commission behind the increase in sugar price and observed that it was daily use item for the people and they had the right to access it at a reasonable rate.
About the increase in the price from Rs53 per kg to Rs85 in 2020, the chief justice said the commission should have addressed the issue of people being affected by the trend.
When Makhdoom said Shahzad held a press conference despite knowing that the petition had been filed, the chief justice said the court would issue a notice to the government on the matter and to explain the stance but the millers would have sell the commodity at the rate of Rs70 per kg till then.
The IHC generally does not interfere in the executive matters but a labourer needs sugar and they are giving subsidy on Coca Cola, remarked the chief justice, as he adjourned the hearing for 10 days.