Supreme Court endorses ban on non-Basmati rice exports

June 30th, 2008 - 7:44 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, June 30 (IANS) The Supreme Court Monday upheld the ban on export of non-Basmati rice imposed by the central government earlier this year due to the fears of an impending food crisis in the country. Endorsing the ban, a vacation bench of Justice Altmas Kabir and Justice G.S. Singhvi suspended an Andhra Pradesh High Court order, waiving the ban for some state-based rice exporting firms and permitting them to continue exports.

It also ordered suspension of all proposed rice shipments abroad by various firms.

The bench’s ruling came on a lawsuit by the central government.

Additional Solicitor General P.P Malhotra, appearing for the government, pleaded that the country faces the danger of an impending food crisis and the ban was imposed to avert this crisis.

The government had also sought the apex court direction to transfer to itself at least 38 lawsuits pending in various high courts seeking permission to waive the ban.

Responding to the plea, the bench also issued notices to all 38 companies, which had moved various high courts in the country.

The Andhra Pradesh High Court earlier permitted at least eight firms to continue exporting non-Basmati rice on the ground that they had made commitments for export to their business partners abroad prior to the ban.

The rice firms also contended before the high court that the ban impinged upon farmers’ right to procure better prices for their produce.

Some of the companies which got the Andhra Pradesh High Court’s permission to continue exporting non-Basmati rice included Vaishnavi Industries, Pawan Jain and Sons, LMJ International Limited, Sarala Foods Pvt Ltd, Satyam Balajee Rice Industries Ltd and Bharat Exports.

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