Supreme Court stays HC order blocking gas price hike

Supreme Court stays HC order blocking gas price hike

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Dhaka – The Appellate Division of the Supreme Court o Monday extended its order staying a High Court order that had stayed for six months the second phase of the gas price hike that came into effect from June 1.It also asked the High Court to hear and dispose of its (HC) ruling issued over the legality of household gas price hike by July 31.
A four-member bench of the Appellate Division of the SC headed by Chief Justice Surendra Kumar Sinha passed the order following a plea moved by Bangladesh Energy Regulatory Commission (BERC) seeking stay on the High Court order.
Later, Attorney general Mahbubey Alam said that with the fresh order of the apex court there would be no legal bar to continue the latest hike of gas prices in the country.
Earlier on May 30, the chamber judge stayed the HC order and sent the petition to the full bench of the Appellate Division for hearing on June 5.
The Bangladesh Energy Regulatory Commission (BERC) had on February 23 raised gas prices for all consumers by 22.7 per cent and decided to implement the hike in two phases.
As per the government’s declaration, prices of kitchen gas have been increased to Tk. 750 from Tk. 600 for a single burner, and Tk. 800 from Tk. 650 for double burners from March 1. The BERC also announced that gas prices would be increased again to Tk. 900 for single burners and Tk. 950 for double burners on June 1.
But, in response to a writ petition, the HC bench, comprising Justice Moyeenul Islam Chowdhury and Justice JBM Hassan, stayed for six months the second phase of the gas price hike.
The bench also issued a rule asking the government to explain why the public notification for increasing gas prices on March 1 and June 1 should not be declared illegal.
Mubassher Hossain, convener of the national complaint handling committee of the Consumers’ Association of Bangladesh (CAB), filed the petition before the HC on February 27, challenging the legality of the government mass notification for gas price hike.
Hossain filed the petition, saying the authorities can increase gas prices once a year under the Bangladesh Energy Regulatory Commission Act, 2003, but the prices have been raised twice this year. – Staff Reporter

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