The Delhi High Court on Wednesday refused to interfere with the issue of daily change in prices of fuel. The fuel price issue was an “economic policy decision” made by the Central government and the courts must remain away from it, it said.
"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," the court said.
A bench of Chief Justice Rajendra Menon and Justice VK Rao said "there are larger economic issues" involved, making it clear it is not inclined to interfere with the decision of the government.
The bench was hearing a PIL by Delhi-based designer, Puja Mahajan, which challenged the rise in fuel rates on a daily basis and sought a direction to the Centre to fix a fair price for petrol and diesel.
The petition also sought treating petrol and diesel as essential commodities.
The petition, filed through advocate A Maitri, also claimed that Mahajan's representation to the central government on the issue has not yet been decided.
The Central government was thereafter directed by the court to decide the representation within four weeks.
The matter was listed for further hearing on November 16.
The petition has alleged that the government had "indirectly given implied consent" to oil marketing companies (OMCs) to hike petrol and diesel prices at their own "whims and fancies".
It claimed that the implied consent was evident as the fuel prices were not revised for nearly 22 days in the run-up to the Karnataka Assembly polls.
Accusing the government of spreading "misleading information" by drawing a connection between the rising fuel prices and the global increase in the rate of crude oil, the petition said the prices of petrol and diesel did not decline when crude was cheaper.
The petitioner said she had moved a similar plea in July, which was disposed by the court, asking the Centre to treat it as a representation and take a decision.