Petition against sugar price hike – Judge says LHC may inspect sugar dealers’ bank accounts | Pakistan Today

Petition against sugar price hike – Judge says LHC may inspect sugar dealers’ bank accounts

LAHORE: The Lahore High Court (LHC) Justice Sheikh Azmat Saeed on Friday issued notices to the federal and Punjab governments and sought a detailed report until November 22 on a petition challenging the excessive increase in sugar prices across the country.
Due to supply shortage, the commodity was being sold for Rs 130 per kilogramme in the retail market. Justice Saeed observed that the supply shortage was created by the sugar hoarding mafia, which had made money by selling the commodity at higher rates.
“If the sugar crisis is result of hoarding by dealers then it is job of the government to put a check on them or take needful legal action, as the anti-hoarding laws are present in the country and just need to be implemented,” the judge remarked.
The judge said that the court might order inspection of the bank accounts of sugar dealers for determining whether they had withdrawn money from their accounts for hoarding sugar. Regarding the government inefficiency for controlling the situation, the judge observed that when the sugar crisis had reached its climax, the government had realised that it should issue tenders for buying and importing sugar in order to meet the shortfall.
The petitioner’s counsel Azhar Siddique said that the court should seek a report from the government until November 15, on which Justice Saeed observed that courts could not pass orders, which might be hard for the government to implement and said that the court would wait until November 22 for the government’s report.
Petitioner’s counsel Azhar Siddique submitted that the unprecedented and unchecked increase in sugar prices had occurred due to the governments and the profiteers. He said that the common man was already overburdened due to high inflation and now the sugar crisis had added to the miseries of the masses. The petitioner’s counsel said that the federal and provincial governments had started a blame game giving an opportunity to hoarders and profiteers to make billions of rupees.
He said that the fundamental rights of the citizens had been badly violated. Siddique argued that articles 9 to 28 of the constitution had defined the fundamental rights of citizens and the state was responsible for providing all basic necessities of life to the masses. He said that articles 29 to 38 restrained the governments from framing any anti-people policy.
The petitioner’s counsel alleged that the rulers were overlooking all their responsibilities and had given a free hand to hoarders and profiteers for increasing sugar prices, which had added to the miseries of the citizens. Referring to various laws enacted for controlling sugar prices and the measures needed to control such situations,
Siddique said that the laws had been grossly violated by increasing sugar prices and the accused be awarded 10-year imprisonment and imposed a fine not less than Rs 1 million. The petitioner’s counsel said that if sugar mill owners and hoarders do not bring sugar prices down, their mills be nationalised. He also suggested formation of a committee consisting of people from all walks of life for keeping a check on prices of daily use commodities.

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