Sunday September 24, 2023

LHC tells govt not to take action against Tareen's sugar mills

Tareen-owned sugar mills file plea challenging a govt notification fixing the retail price of sugar at Rs89.5 per kg

By Web Desk
August 10, 2021
Lahore High Court building.
Lahore High Court building. 

LAHORE: The Lahore High Court on Tuesday ordered the government to not take any "coercive measures" against the sugar mills owned by PTI leader Jahangir Khan Tareen, issuing a stay order till the next hearing of a plea challenging the sugar prices fixed by the government.

The directive was passed by Justice Rasaal Hasan Syed during a hearing at the LHC.

At the outset of the hearing, the petitioner's counsel argued that the secretary of industries had fixed the ex-mill and retail price of sugar at the rate of Rs84.50 and Rs89.50, respectively, on July 30 through a notification.

He contended that the step was illegal and that the petitioners were aggrieved by the fixing of sugar prices.

The counsel said the LHC ordered the government to hear the stance of the sugar mills before fixing the prices of sugar, but the petitioners were not heard, and new rates were fixed through a notification.

According to the counsel, the price fixed by the government was irrational, contrary to the factual position of the cost of production and it was not possible to sell sugar at these rates.

The counsel moved the court to nullify the notification.

At this, a law officer opposed the plea, saying that the sugar prices were fixed after hearing the stance of 32 sugar mills.

He maintained that all requirements were fulfilled before fixing the price of sugar.

Subsequently, the court, after hearing the arguments, restricted the provincial government from taking coercive measures against the petitioner's mills till the next hearing.

The court issued notices to the Punjab government and other parties to the case, seeking their replies at the next hearing.

It also ordered the sugar mills to submit sureties worth the difference in sugar prices, to the cane commissioner.

It further ordered that all identical petitions be fixed with the main case and that the cane commissioner maintain a record of the sugar mills' supply.

Last year, PM Imran Khan had tasked the Federal Investigation Agency to investigate the sugar crisis that had led to a shortage of the commodity in the country and due to which sugar prices skyrocketed. He tasked the FIA to find out who benefited from the crisis.

A report by the FIA released last year said that top PTI members were among those who gained from the recent sugar crisis in the country.