Pakistan Print 2023-07-16

‘Right to business is subject to some restrictions’: LHC dismisses pleas against decrease in wheat quota

  • Rules supply of wheat is within the domain of the respondents and they are regulating the activity under a policy framed for the said purpose
Published July 16, 2023

LAHORE: The Lahore High Court while proceeding with petitions of some flour mills owners filed against the decrease in their wheat quota held that the right to freedom of trade, business or profession is not an absolute and unbridled right, rather it is regulated by some restrictions.

The court dismissed the petitions and held that Article 38 of the Constitution ordains that the State shall provide basic necessities of life for all citizens irrespective of sex, caste, creed, or race, but its mandate cannot be extended for the benefit of petitioners being mill owners only to promote their business.

The respondents during the course of proceedings explained that multiple factors lead to the calculation of quota for the urban and rural population of a district, hence decline in the figure of the wheat quota of district Attock is quite logical. A law officer also pleaded that the petitioners being the mill owners have no vested right to claim the enhancement of wheat quota.

He added that the supply of wheat is within the domain of the respondents and they are regulating the activity under a policy framed for the said purpose. The law officer also contended that wheat quota cannot be fixed at the whims of the petitioners and this petition is not tenable under the law.

The court after hearing all the parties at length observed that every citizen shall have the right to enter upon any lawful profession or occupation, and to conduct any lawful trade or business but freedom of trade, business or profession is subject to qualifications, if any, as may be prescribed by law.

These qualifications empowered the government to frame a policy and it will not be open for the court to annul a policy framed by the executive, the court added. The court observed that in terms of Section 3 of the Act 1958, the government is vested with the power to control the supply of foodstuffs for ensuring equal distribution as well as price hikes.

The court said the fixation of quota is clearly a function of the executive falling within its policy-making domain. Framing of a policy with regard to a particular subject is within the exclusive domain of the executive, which is in a better position to decide on account of its mandate, experience, wisdom, and sagacity which are acquired through diverse skills, the court added.

This court in the exercise of constitutional jurisdiction cannot abridge the powers of the executive to frame a policy or to settle its terms as per the wishes and whims of a particular individual or a group of society, the court concluded.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2023


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