You have to stand guard over the development and maintenance of democracy, social justice and the equality of mankind in your own native soil. [Mohammed Ali Jinnah]

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Here it comes - SC takes up petrol, gas price issue

The court has asked the government to decide whether it will reduce on its own prices of petroleum or let the apex court intervene.—File Photo

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court on Tuesday asked the government to decide by Wednesday whether it would reduce on its own prices of petroleum and gas as suggested by a judicial commission or let the apex court intervene.

The judicial commission said in an interim report to the Supreme Court: ‘It is high time that the government should ponder seriously over reducing the burden of petroleum development levy (PDL) and uniform general sales tax (GST) at the rate of 16 per cent.’

Signed by Justice (retd) Bhagwandas, the five-page report observed that ‘freight rates, dollar-rupee parity source, cost of refining, margins allowed to distributors and dealers’ commission (too) need rationalisation and review in the larger public interest’.

Attorney-General Sardar Mohammad Latif Khan Khosa is required to v seek instructions and inform the three-judge bench, comprising Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry, Justice Raja Fayyaz Ahmed and Justice Chaudhry Ijaz Ahmed, about the government’s decision on price reduction by Wednesday.

‘It is open to the Supreme Court to make appropriate directions for the relief in prices of petroleum products as well as natural gas, CNG (compressed natural gas) and LPG (liquefied petroleum gas) as deemed just, fair and proper.’

‘The government is earning profit worth billions of rupees by doing business with its own people,’ Justice Raja Fayyaz said when Advocate Mohammad Ikram Chaudhry read out the interim report before the court.

The chief justice was also unhappy over Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (Ogra) insensitivity for not reducing petroleum prices by a single penny even though the court was seized with the matter for the past month. read more