Kerala HC slams petrol price hike

Kerala HC slams petrol price hike

The common man is at the mercy of oil companies, observed a division bench headed by acting chief justice of Kerala High Court C N Ramachandran Nair while hearing a petition filed by former MP P C Thomas challenging the concept of “under recovery.”

The Bench noted that while various political parties are organising protests against the price hike, the common man who bears the brunt of the hike is suffering meekly.

It noted that the Union government is forgetting its constitutional responsibility to protect the public from steep price hikes. On the issue of price hike regarding petroleum products, the court noted that the Union government cannot “pass the buck” to the oil companies.

Commenting on the pricing process, the court wondered how crude oil produced by the oil companies which have their wells in the country and the petroleum products refined within the country can be priced at par with international prices.

The court expressed doubts on the possibility of corruption and mismanagement in the oil sector of the country leading to frequent increases in the price of petroleum products. “Why can’t the government monitor the happenings in the oil sector and take the necessary steps to correct it,” asked the court.

Looking at the argument by the oil companies which claimed that they are running at losses, the court stated that such arguments cannot be taken at face value.

The court asked Indian Oil Corporation and Reliance Petroleum to submit their balance sheets and under recovery statements to the court. It also asked the Union government and Indian Oil Corporation to file counter affidavits in a month.

State to forgo additional tax

Thiruvananthapuram, DHNS: The Kerala government on Friday decided to forego the additional tax revenue resulting from the petrol price hike. This was announced by Chief Minister Oommen Chandy in the Assembly on Friday.