Interior ministry challenges SHC’s orders on sugar inquiry commission report
Statesman Report
ISLAMABAD: The Interior Ministry has approached the Supreme Court to challenge the Sindh High Court’s (SHC) decision barring the federal government to take action on the recommendations of the sugar commission report.
The Centre has told the apex court that the SHC gave relief to the sugar mills association without listening to the government. The federal government added in the petition that a stay order cannot be issued without listening to the other party involved in the case, and appealed to the court to declare the order as null and void.
The petition also states that Islamabad High Court has declared that the commission report does not affect the rights of the sugar mills association. It added that the SHC has also excluded IHC’s order.
The federal government has told the court that the Centre’s stance is that it should be allowed to take action over the sugar inquiry commission report.
On Tuesday, the SHC suspended the operation on the Sugar Inquiry Commission report to the extent of as many as 20 sugar mills owners in Sindh.
The interim order came on the petition of Mirpurkhas Sugar Mills and others, which sought quashing of the Sugar Commission Inquiry report.
The petitioners’ counsel submitted that the commission was not properly constituted in accordance with the relevant legislation. Besides, the commission included members who were biased and had already made up their minds against the sugar mills as they were members of the earlier inquiry committee constituted for the same purpose.
They submitted during the entire inquiry commission exercise, none of the petitioners were asked for information or clarification regarding the operation and business of their respective sugar mills while the sugar commission made observations against the petitioners, which has had an adverse impact on the businesses and reputation of the petitioners.
The SHC’s division bench, headed by Justice Omar Sial, inquired the counsel as to how the matter fell within the writ jurisdiction of the SHC as no concrete action had been taken by any department against the petitioners.
The counsel submitted that a perception had been created that all sugar mills are indulging in unlawful activities due to observations made in the inquiry report and ensuing media debates on the subject. They submitted that such a perception had been detrimental to the petitioners’ business and in breach of the Article 14 of the Constitution.
They further submitted that two sections of the inquiry report reflected that 10 mills were selected for audit out of which only nine were forensically audited whereas the section 2 of the inquiry report showed that it were only these nine sugar mills which had been forensically examined and these mills did not include the petitioners.