ISLAMABAD – The Supreme Court on Monday upheld Peshawar High Court’s verdict and ruled that subsidy should be paid to all fertiliser manufacturers if their products met the quality standards.

The PHC had passed the judgment; “If a product or a fertiliser meets the standards of Pakistan Standards and Quality Control Authority Standards Development Center (Chemical Division) and possesses 18 percent P-Content, then there should be no legal justification to deny the manufacturer the subsidy.

A two-member bench, comprising Justice Ejaz Afzal and Justice Qazi Faez Isa, after hearing the arguments of all parties on May 27, had reserved the judgment.

The federal government, in November 2015, had announced subsidy for the farmers on the purchase of fertilisers.
Agritech Limited, manufacturer of Single Super Phosphate (SSP) in Haripur, District Hazara Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and other companies, which were denied the subsidy, had challenged the government’s discriminatory attitude.

The PHC had passed the verdict in favour of Agritech Company, which prompted the federal government to approach the apex court.

According to the federal government’s notification, the subsidy was only to be, “given to SSP fertiliser manufactured by using imported rock.
” Agritech and others, which manufactured SSP fertiliser using local rock felt aggrieved, and filed a petition under Article 199 of the constitution before the PHC.

Salman Akram Raja, counsel for Agritech, informed the court that the fertiliser manufactured by using ‘imported rock’ or that fertiliser imported in its finished form did not constitute intelligible criteria, entitling somebody to the subsidy and excluding the other.

He argued that subsidy should also be given to those fertilizer manufacturers, having a phosphate content of 18 percent or more.

He told the court the government by denying subsidy made his client’s product uncompetitive in the market.

He said that November 3, 2015 notification stipulated, “The phosphate content should not be less than 18%,” therefore, further stipulation for the fertiliser to be manufactured by using imported rock did not stand to reason, and this was done simply to exclude those manufacturers, who were utilising the local rock.

He further informed the court the company’s fertiliser had been tested, and it was established to have phosphate content in excess of 18 percent, while no test was carried out on the fertilizers, manufactured by its competitors by using imported rock or on the imported fertilisers to ascertain their phosphate contents.

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