Thursday May 26, 2022

LHC censures Punjab govt over long queues for buying sugar

By Amir Riaz
April 21, 2021

LAHORE: The Lahore High Court (LHC) Tuesday censured the Punjab government for making the citizens stand in long queues to buy subsidised sugar at Ramazan bazaars.

“The government has made the people beggar in the name of Rs15 discount on the sugar price,” Justice Shahid Jamil Khan regretted, while hearing petitions of sugar mills against the government decision of fixing ex-mill price of the commodity at Rs80 per kilogram. The judge observed that making people stand in the queues for purchasing subsidised sugar was against dignity and self-respect of people. He remarked that “under Article 14 of the Constitution, the dignity of man, subject to law, shall be inviolable.

“Since dignity of a citizen is inviolable under the Constitution, lining up people to purchase sugar at subsidised rate on any pretext is against command of the Constitution,” the judge reminded the government’s law officer and the cane commissioner, present in the court.

Justice Khan directed the government to rectify the practice and ensure that people get the subsidised sugar without standing in long queues. The law officer sought time to submit an undertaking on behalf of the government and the judge adjourned hearing for Wednesday (today).

Earlier, the cane commissioner also assured the court that the sugar would be lifted from the mills through registered dealers. The judge ordered the cane commissioner to ensure that the required quantity of 155,000 metric tons of sugar was supplied to the domestic consumers and it should be available at all retail shops.

The cane commissioner told the court that the matter was the domain of director general of industries, who, when asked by the court, could not reply satisfactorily except for saying that all concerned had been informed about the situation.

The law officer said the industries department and all deputy commissioners were responsible for controlling prices. The judge sought an undertaking in writing from the secretary and the director general of industries department and the additional chief secretary on behalf of all deputy commissioners in Punjab that sugar, being lifted at the court order, would be available for Rs85 per kg in all retail outlets. The court had temporarily allowed the government to lift sugar from the mills at Rs80 to meet the demand during the holy month of Ramazan.