LAHORE: The federal government on Friday told the Lahore High Court that rules, as directed by the latter, had been framed and placed before the cabinet for approval to evolve a mechanism for fixation of essential goods’ prices.

Justice Shahid Jamil Khan was hearing a petition by sugar mills challenging a notification of the government wherein ex-mill sugar price had been fixed at Rs83.4 and retail price Rs88.24.

The counsel for the millers argued that the impugned notification had been issued without complying with the directions by the LHC whereby the government was ordered to frame rules or policy for fixation of sugar price.

An additional attorney general told the court the rules had been framed and placed before the federal cabinet for final approval. However, the law officer did not deny that the price fixation through the impugned notification was different from the criteria adopted at a meeting on direction of the LHC.

The court was told that a previous meeting witnessed a disagreement between the sugar industry, the federal government and the provincial secretary (industries) on the cost of the molasses.

The government undertook before the court that a similar meeting would be held on July 27 and price shall be fixed following the same criteria. Any disagreement from the representation of the sugar industry regarding the cost of any component shall be recorded in the order of fixation of price, which shall be communicated to the petitioners.

“The price, so fixed, shall be implemented soon thereafter,” Justice Khan said in the order and observed that the millers could challenge the government’s notification if felt aggrieved as per the law.

The judge would resume hearing on Sept 23.

Published in Dawn, July 24th, 2021

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