High Court questions price hike of fuel oil without public hearings

It asks why the circular raising the prices shall not be declared illegal

Staff Correspondentbdnews24.com
Published : 16 August 2022, 01:32 PM
Updated : 16 August 2022, 01:32 PM

The High Court has issued a rule asking the government why its circular raising fuel oil prices shall not be declared illegal.

The panel of Justice Mozibur Rahman Miah and Justice Ejarul Haque Akondo issued the rule on Tuesday upon hearing a writ petition.

The secretary and the deputy secretary at the Energy and Mineral Resources Division, the chairman of Bangladesh Energy Regulatory Commission, the cabinet secretary, the law and parliamentary affairs secretary, and the secretary at the president’s office have been given four weeks to respond.

Lawyer Eunus Ali Akond, who filed the writ petition and argued his case in the hearing, said the circular is a breach of the law that stipulates public hearings before a rise in energy prices by the BERC.

“The law does not vest in the government the power to raise oil prices. The Energy Regulatory Commission has that power. The government cited the president’s order for the price rise,” he said.

The petitioner sought an order to suspend the circular as well as a rule asking why it should not be declared to have been issued beyond the government’s legal authority, and thus revoked.

The power, energy and mineral resources ministry issued the circular on Aug 5, increasing the prices of diesel, kerosene, petrol and octane by as much as 51.68 percent.

The unprecedented fuel price rise led to an increase in prices of almost everything besides transport fares.

The government cited volatility in the global market due to the Russia-Ukraine war for the hike.

Ministers said the hike was necessary to ease pressure on the foreign currency reserves by cutting subsidies.

Analysts, who believe the price hike could have been avoided amid rising inflation, have questioned the move and accounts presented by the authorities.

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