SHC restrains DCs from taking action against chicken sellers

December 08, 2023

The Sindh High Court (SHC) has restrained the Karachi commissioner and deputy commissioners (DCs) from taking any coercive action against chicken merchants in the city, provided they sell the meat on government-notified prices.

This interim order came on a petition filed by chicken meat sellers in different districts of the city against the challans issued by the DCs to them under the section 7 of the Sindh Essential Commodities Price Control and Prevention of Profiteering and Hoarding Act.

The Sindh High Court building. — SHC website

The petitioners counsel Tariq Mansoor submitted that exorbitant penalities have been imposed on the plaintiffs by the local administration without any notice or assigning any reasons.

Mansoor said that petitioners have not violated any law nor attempted to sell meat above the notified price. He challenged the vires of the essential commodities act as well as the commissioner’s authority to fix the farm, wholesale and retail price of chicken broiler and meat prices. He added that the authority to fix the price of meat was vested in the bureau of supply and prices.

The counsel argued that the impugned challans and the actions taken by the commissioner and DCs against the plaintiffs were without any lawful authority. He requested the court to provide protection to the petitioners against any coercive action by the respondents.

The SHC’s division bench, headed by Acting Chief Justice Aqeel Ahmed Abbasi, issued pre-admission notices to the commissioner and others, seeking their comments on the petition.

In the meantime, the bench ordered that the respondents may not take further coercive action against the petitioners till the next date of hearing, while they shall continue to sell chicken as per the notified price till further orders.