HC refuses to stay export ban on non-basmati rice

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Chennai, May 23 (UNI) The Madras High Court has refused to stay the ban on export of non-basmati rice.

Justice A Kulasekaran, while refusing to stay the proceedings in the case, ordered notice to the Centre and posted the case after court vacation.

An export-oriented unit, enjoying a single star status, had moved the High Court with a writ petition contending the Centre's notification on export ban would jeopardise its business interests as they would be sued in case of non-performance of a contract to supply rice to Malaysia.

The petitioner company said it bagged a contract to supply 4,300 metric tonne of rice to Malaysia and a part of the contract obligations had been complied with.

''The Centre's notification should take only prospective effect and not retrospective effect and contracts already formalised should be exempted by the government,'' the petitioner added, while seeking a stay on the notification.

When the case came up for hearing before the court, Additional Solicitor General M Ravindran and Senior Central Government Standing Counsel P Chandrasekaran submitted it was settled law that a licensing authority enjoyed powers to recall the permission as well.

The decision to ban rice export was taken in view of the grim foodgrain and rice situation globally.

As for the Andhra Pradesh High Court, which has stayed similar notifications issued by the Ministry and the Director-General of Foreign Trade, the Centre has filed a counter-affidavit stating the restrictions on exports were resorted to only when domestic situation worsened.

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