The Delhi High Court today asked the Centre to treat as a representation a plea which claims petrol and diesel are essential commodities and seeks directions to the government to fix a “fair price” for their sale. A bench of Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice C Hari Shankar said the petitioner had not complained to the Centre about the issue and a prima facie reading of the Essential Commodities Act does not indicate that it is mandatory for the Centre to fix fuel prices.
The court asked the central government to treat the PIL as a representation and disposed of the petition. The plea by Delhi-based designer Pooja Mahajan had opposed the regular increase in fuel prices by contending that petrol and diesel are “essential commodities” and the central government was duty bound to fix a fair price for their sale.
The petition, filed through advocate A Maitri, alleged the government was indirectly controlling fuel prices as there was no hike in their rates during the Karnataka state assembly elections this year. It also said the government was hand in glove with oil companies as it was increasing excise duty and other taxes levied on fossil fuels so the benefits of the drop in crude oil globally was not passed on to consumers.
The petitioner wanted the present mechanism of daily fixation of fuel prices to be held unconstitutional and said the government should be directed to fix a “fair price” for their sale. She contended that fixation of fuel prices was a policy decision and cannot be left to the “whims and fancies” of state-owned oil companies.