The Islamabad High Court dismissed on Wednesday a petition challenging the overnight increase in fuel prices.
On June 26, the federal government increased the petrol price by Rs25.58 per litre to just a little over Rs100. Mian Muhammad Aslam, a leader of the Jamaat-e-Islami, challenged the hike on Tuesday.
“The courts are neither equipped nor have the expertise to intervene or adjudicate upon matters relating to economic policies of the executive, particularly fixation of prices of essential commodities,” the court order said. “By entertaining the petition in hand, this court would definitely be travelling beyond the limits prescribed by the Constitution and intruding in the domain of the executive”.
The pricing of any commodity involves several factors and is obviously directed by the market forces. “It has nexus with the economic conditions and policies of the executive. It thus falls within the exclusive domain of the executive branch of the State”.
It added, “The executive is led by elected representatives and they are accountable to the people of Pakistan for their policies and its consequences. No executive would willingly invite the wrath of the people by allowing the increase in prices of essential commodities through deliberate or reckless decisions”.
The petitioner requested the notification of the increase in petrol price to be set aside followed by a decrease in petrol prices.
He said that the prices have been increased in an “arbitrary, unrealistic and flimsy” way. ” “Despite the slight fluctuation in the crude oil prices in international markets, the government has endorsed a huge increase in prices of petroleum products in an illegal and hasty manner by increasing the base price of petroleum products and petroleum levy”.
He remarked that it is the state’s responsibility to “provide relief and support to its people during critical financial situations” but the federal government’s action is in “sheer violation of the government’s duty”.