Srinagar: The J&K high court has directed deputy commissioners of all the districts to take strict action against shopkeepers who fail to display rate list of essential commodities even as the Consumer Affairs and Public Distribution department assured it “appropriate action” against the defaulting retailers.
Disposing a public interest litigation, a division bench of Chief Justice N Paul Vasthakumar and Justice Tashi Rabstan also left it open for any consumer to approach the concerned authorities and the court for any grievance regarding non-compliance of the rates fixed by the CAPD.
The directions by the court followed submissions by counsel for the CAPD that all essential items are given the maximum retail sale rate and stand notified.
A separate circular will be issued calling all the retailers to display the rate list of all essential commodities which are being sold by them and the department will also monitor it, the counsel submitted further.
“If any retailer is found selling the essential commodities other than the rate fixed by the government, appropriate action will be taken against them.”
Subsequently, the court asked Director CAPD to issue the circular within two weeks and directed “deputy commissioners of all the districts to verify as to whether the shopkeepers are keeping the display boards in their shops.
“If any shopkeeper is found not having kept the display board on his shop, strict action will be taken against the shopkeepers in accordance with the law,” it said.
The court was hearing the PIL filed by an advocate G M Wani who submitted that price of diverse commodities vary from one street to another and keep on shaking at the sweet will of the vendors.
The commodities cited by him include bread, vegetables, in addition to meat, chicken and other edibles. Due to non-fixing of fair price for each item, the petitioner had said that the vendors are selling the items according to their wishes much to the trouble of a common man.
He had demanded directions to the government to adhere to the price lists as published by the CAPD and ensure that the same was adhered on ground level.
Besides, he had sought directions to take all adequate measures to maintain the mass and weight, as well as to control the quality of the commodities.
He had also urged the court to direct magistrates to excursive their powers for maintaining the quality , protect the prices and keep up the essential commodities throughout the local limits of their jurisdiction, in cities, towns, rural areas and hamlets of the of the state in public interest.