LAHORE: Justice Muhammad Khalid Mehmood Khan of the Lahore High Court on Monday –disposing of a petition against massive hoarding, black-marketing and profiteering by traders and the government’s failure to control prices of essential edibles – directed the Punjab chief secretary to decide the issue within two months.
On behalf of an organisation – Judicial Activism Panel (JAP) – a petition was moved before the Lahore High Court against massive hoarding, black-marketing and profiteering by traders during the month of Ramazan, and the governments’ subsequent failure to control the prices of essential commodities.
JAP Chairman Muhammad Azhar Siddique submitted that the federal and provincial governments had badly failed to control and prices of essential commodities and could not check hoarding and black-marketing of essential food products.
He said that to provide essential commodities to the citizens at reasonable prices was the constitutional duty of both the governments, but so far, these governments had no concern with the suffering of the people. He submitted that wheat, sugar, maize, sugar, fruits and vegetables are the basic necessities of the people, but the governments were unable to control the price of these essential goods, which had made the life of the common man miserable.
He submitted that both the governments lacked interest in helping the innocent citizens and laying down special laws, regulations and policies for controlling prices and ensuring supply of essential food items.
He said that the prime minister and the Punjab chief minister were responsible for such a crisis, and they may be prosecuted for such glaring violation of their constitutional obligations.
He submitted that the relevant laws provide meagre penalties/punishment up to 3 years in prison, but no person had been booked so far, even when there was no control on the prices of these goods.
He stated that these laws should be amended and some harsh punishments be suggested, which might include rigorous imprisonment of not less than 10 years for hoarding, black-marketing, excessive profiteering and adulteration.
He said that the government should also restore the magisterial system to implement laws and control price hike and hoarding. He said that relief could only be provided to the people by strictly observing the law and taking stern action against persons responsible for price hike.
He requested the court to take action against both the governments for their failure to control price hike and restore the magisterial system. He also requested that that prime minister and the chief minister might be summoned for their inefficiency.
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