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Friday, February 16, 2024

SC overturns SHC order declaring Sugar Commission Report null and void

The order by Sindh High Court that had declared the Sugar Commission Report null and void has been overturned by the Supreme Court.

Supreme Court (SC) has suspended Sindh High Court (SHC) decision on nullifying Sugar Commission Report (SCR) besides admitting federation appeal plea for hearing. The court has issued notices to owners of sugar mills and sought reply from them.

Federation appeal plea against SHC verdict regarding nullification of SCR came up; for hearing before SC bench presided over by Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Gulzar Ahmad and comprising Justice Mushir Alam and Justice Ijaz ul Ahsan Wednesday.

Sugar Comission report nullified but investigation process carries on

Justice Ijaz ul Ahsan remarked experts from different departments should have been included in sugar commission. Attorney General told the court punishment was not to be proposed in the report. Further investigation was to be conducted by the respective departments on their own.

Read More: SC allows government to go after those involved in recent sugar crisis

CJP remarked one objection was this that notification of the commission was not issued. Attorney General said notification had been issued. It was however published in the gazette late.

The court while suspending SHC order on nullification of SCR remarked the respective institutions will continue their investigation process in sugar scandal. During this implementation on SHC decision will remain suspended.

As per media reports Sindh High Court had declared report of Sugar Inquiry Commission null and void. SHC, while accepting plea of owners of sugar mills, ordered that government can launch inquiry against the mills but report of commission should not influence the investigation.

Sugar mills earning illegal profits owned by political families

Sugar inquiry commission had claimed that sugar mills belonging to the families of the country’s top politicians including PML-N’s Shehbaz Sharif, PTI’s Jahangir Tareen and Khusro Bakhtiar, PML-Q’s Moonis Elahi and PPP’s Asif Ali Zardari were among the beneficiaries of the crisis.

Read More: Power corridors’ prolonged association with sugar mills

In its forensic report – issued on May 21 – the commission had accused the sugar mill owners of earning illegal profits to the tune of billions of rupees through unjustified price hikes, benami transactions, tax evasion, misuse of subsidy and purchasing sugarcane off the books. Owners of the mills approached Sindh High Court, which stopped the federal government from taking actions against the sugar mills owners.

Later, federal government approached Supreme Court (SC) to challenge order of Sindh High Court (SHC). SC dismissed the stay order granted by the SHC and allowed the government to take action against sugar mills.

Read More: Sugar crisis report again not submitted. Will it ever be presented to PM Khan?

The apex court granted three-week time to the SHC to issue verdict over the matter. The SC also directed the government to not take unnecessary steps against sugar millers. The court while issuing notices to 20 sugar mills adjourned the hearing of the case for one month.

GVS News Desk