LAHORE: The Lahore High Court has sought arguments from the government and the sugar mills on a legal question about the fate of the money being deposited by the millers under the head of difference between the amounts charged and collected by them and the price fixed by the authority.

“Fundamental principle is that no one can be enriched unjustly, therefore, the amount deposited in cash cannot be part of the national exchequer, because it is not tax, fee or cess.

This amount cannot be paid back to the consumers of sugar who purchased it at a higher price,” Justice Shahid Jamil Khan wrote in the order of the previous hearing of petitions by the sugar mills.

The mills challenged a July 30 notification fixing the ex-mill sugar price at Rs84.50 and retail price at Rs89.5 per kilo.

The Supreme Court had ordered the petitioners/mills to deposit the difference of the two amounts with the LHC’s judicial branch till the petitions final decision by the latter.

Justice Khan would resume hearing on Sept 23 when a federal law officer would also assist the court as to how wheat, being a listed essential commodity and basic crop, is treated under the Price Control and Prevention of Profiteering and Hoarding Act 1977.

The judge allowed a request of the law officer who sought more time for fixation of sugar price under SRO 1062 (I) 2021 issued on Aug 24, 2021.

Published in Dawn, September 18th, 2021

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