New Delhi: The Delhi High Court on Wednesday refused to issue directions to the Centre on a PIL seeking regulation of fix and fair prices of petrol and diesel. The court said that it cannot interfere in policy matters involving larger economy issues.
“It is an economic policy matter of the government. There are larger economic issues. The courts must remain away from it. Government may do it (fix a fair price). We cannot issue a mandamus (direction) to them to do it,” said a bench of Chief Justice Rajendra Menon and Justice V K Rao.
The court, thereafter, directed the central government to decide the representation within four weeks and listed the matter for hearing on November 16.
The plea by Puja Mahajan, a resident of the national capital, sought directions to the central government to treat petrol and diesel as “essential commodities” and fix a “fair price” for the petroleum products.
The petition, filed through advocate A Maitri, alleged that the government had “indirectly given implied consent” to the oil manufacturing companies (OMCs) to hike the petrol and diesel prices at their own “whims and fancies”.
It claimed that the implied consent was evident from the lack of revision in fuel prices for around 22 days in the run-up to the Karnataka Assembly polls.
The petition also alleged that the government was spreading “misleading information” by connecting the rising fuel prices here with the global increase in the rate of crude oil as the cost of petrol and diesel did not go down when crude was cheaper than now.
The petitioner said in July, she had moved a similar plea, which the court had disposed of by asking the Centre to treat it as a representation and take a decision.
Meanwhile, after 15 days of consecutive hikes, the skyrocketing run of fuel prices stopped on Wednesday as they remain unchanged with petrol being sold at Rs 80.87 in Delhi and Rs 88.26 in Mumbai – the same as it was announced on Tuesday.
Similarly, a litre of diesel in the national capital is priced at Rs 72.97 and Rs 77.47 in Mumbai.
West Bengal, Andhra Pradesh and Rajasthan have announced deduction in Value Added Tax (VAT) on petrol and diesel prices by Re 1, Rs 2 and 2.5 respectively.