Law being made to replace existing agricultural produce market legislation, SHC told

Published June 4, 2021
The provincial agriculture department on Thursday informed the Sindh High Court that it had decided to draft a new law to replace existing laws about market committee. — Wikimedia Commons/File
The provincial agriculture department on Thursday informed the Sindh High Court that it had decided to draft a new law to replace existing laws about market committee. — Wikimedia Commons/File

KARACHI: The provincial agriculture department on Thursday informed the Sindh High Court that it had decided to draft a new law to replace existing laws about market committee and it would cover all aspects of marketing system and protect interest of stakeholders.

However, an additional secretary could not provide any specific time period when the SHC asked how much time the provincial government would take to promulgate the proposed law.

While disposing of a petition filed against the constitution of the market committee Karachi notified in June 2019 for a period of three years, the two-judge bench headed by Justice Mohammad Ali Mazhar referred the matter to secretary of the agriculture department with direction to call the representatives of petitioner and private respondents and pass appropriate orders after providing them ample opportunity of hearing within one month.

The petition was filed by a welfare association of traders of Karachi Sabzi Mandi challenging the notification of market committee and contended that the committee was notified without consulting it and it was the violation of Agricultural Produce Markets Rules, 1940.

At the outset of the hearing on Thursday, additional secretary of the agriculture supply and prices department Naseer Narejo submitted a statement on behalf of the secretary of agriculture.

It submitted that after due discussions and deliberations during a recently held meeting headed by the agriculture minister of Sindh, it was decided to draft a new law in place of Agricultural Produce Market Committee Act, 1939 and Sindh Wholesale Agricultural Produce Markets (Development & Regulations) Act, 2010.

The purpose of promulgating the new law is to cover all aspects of marketing system and to protect the interest of stakeholders, the statement further maintained.

The director general of agriculture extension Sindh, in his statement argued that the market committee was constituted under the provisions of Section 8 of the Act 1939 read with Rule 8 of the Agricultural Produce Markets Rules 1940.

When the bench raised a question about the time period the Sindh government would take to enact the new law, the additional secretary said that it would take certain time to place a draft of the new law for vetting by the law department and thereafter it would be placed before the cabinet and then the provincial assembly for approval.

The bench further asked which law was under operation to control the market committee in question and to constitute such committee; the additional secretary replied that the present market committee was constituted under the act of 1939 and rules of 1940.

After hearing the arguments, the bench observed that apparently the petitioner was also a registered association of traders and its registration was prior to the issuance of impugned notification, thus in all fairness at the time of making the inquiry for the selection of required member of persons as envisaged in the rules the representative of the petitioner’s association should have been called for its point of view which has not been done.

The additional advocate general as well as additional secretary of agriculture proposed that in order to resolve this controversy, the matter may be referred to the agriculture secretary.

Subsequently, the bench directed the agriculture secretary to hear both sides and decide the matter within 30 days whether at the time of issuing the impugned notification the petitioner association was required to be consulted or they had already been consulted in terms of rule 8 of the Agricultural Produce Markets Rules 1940.

Published in Dawn, June 4th, 2021

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