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July 31, 2020

LHC suspends notification of ban on ghee production

Lahore

July 31, 2020

LAHORE:The Lahore High Court on Thursday suspended operation of a notification issued by Punjab Food Authority (PFA), which envisaged a ban on production and sale of vegetable ghee (Banaspati) in the province from 1st August (tomorrow). Justice Atir Mehmood passed the stay order on a joint petition filed by 21 ghee mills from across the country.

Representing the petitioners, Barrister Abuzar Salman Khan Niazi argued that the ban was in violation of Article 151, 143, 142 read with entry 27 of federal legislative list of the Constitution. He said the ban also violated the right to lawful trade guaranteed under Article 18 of the Constitution. He contended that only Pakistan Standards and Quality Control Authority (PSQCA), the federal government, could regulate business of food standards and certifications in the country and not the provincial government.

The counsel pointed out that the petitioners/mills possessed lawful licences granted by the PSQCA to manufacture, market, sale, process and stock banaspati. Barrister Niazi further argued that the standards prescribed by the PFA could not regulate food products manufactured in the province for the purposes of export. He said the PFA had no affiliations with international standardisation bodies, which was imperative for its standards to be recognised at an global level, particularly for export purposes. He asked the court to set aside the impugned notification and the regulations of the PFA for being unconstitutional. Justice Mehmood suspended the impugned notification and restrained the PFA from taking any coercive action against the petitioners. The hearing was adjourned for a date to be fixed later.