New Delhi: A public interest litigation (PIL) seeking the sale of petrol and diesel at reasonable prices instead of letting oil companies increase the rates exorbitantly was filead in the Delhi High Court on Tuesday. The plea filed by Delhi-based designer Pooja Mahajan through her advocate A. Maitri, is likely to come up for hearing on Wednesday. The petitioner has sought a directive to the Central government to fix the “fair price” of petrol and diesel in accordance with the Essential Commodities Act.
Mahajan has relied upon provisions of the Essential Commodities Act and said that law prima facie shows and indicates that it is the obligation of the government to deal with the price hike problem. “Instead of fixing the fair price, the government has delegated the powers to Oil Manufacturing Companies (OMC) and this kind of procedure being followed by the Government is unconstitutional, illegal and contrary to the mandate of the Section 3(1) of the Essential Commodities Act,” the plea read.
“The government is not playing its true role which the government ought to have played but instead of that it has given a open hand to these oil companies to exploit the public at large and to charge/demand enhanced prices by assuming and presuming the cost of crude oil at the international level.” The petitioner also alleged that the oil companies had stopped increasing the prices when the Karnataka election campaign was going on.
“There is no explanation on the part of government/OMCs that why the fuel prices remained static for approximately 22 days during the Karnataka elections. This factual position do establish that the government is indirectly controlling the fuel prices and do establish that fuel prices have some connection with the elections,” the plea added. Mahajan had filed a similar plea in July but the High Court had then directed the Centre to treat the PIL as a representation. Mahajan said the government did not consider the representation and has not taken a decision in this matter.