SC dismisses challenge to FDI in multi-brand retail

The Supreme Court on Wednesday dismissed a challenge to the foreign direct investment in multi-brand retail policy,saying there seemed no constitutional or statutory infirmity in the matter,warranting its intervention.

Written by Express News Service | New Delhi | Published:May 2, 2013 12:41 am

The Supreme Court on Wednesday dismissed a challenge to the foreign direct investment (FDI) in multi-brand retail policy,saying there seemed no constitutional or statutory infirmity in the matter,warranting its intervention.

A bench led by Justice RM Lodha said that it could intervene only if the policy was found to be vitiated by legal infirmities or it was violative of fundamental rights.

“On matters affecting policy,this court does not interfere unless the policy is unconstitutional,contrary to statutory provisions,arbitrary,irrational,or in abuse of power,” said the bench,pointing that the FDI policy did not suffer from any of these lacuna. Dismissing a PIL by advocate ML Sharma,the court noted that there remained no shortcoming in the legal regime after the government brought in the necessary amendments in the RBI rules,as required under the Foreign Exchange Management Act,and subsequently got it passed in Parliament. The bench further said that the Centre’s policy was only an enabling policy since it formalised a statutory regime but gave state governments freedom to have their own arrangement for its implementation,based on their local conditions. In his arguments,Sharma questioned the merits of the policy,contending it would finish small traders and traditional middlemen.

The bench,however,found favour with the arguments by Attorney General GE Vahanvati and said that prima facie,the policy would enlarge choices to consumers and do away with middlemen.

“Consumer is king,if that is the principle,we have to accept it. The idea is to do away with middlemen. They are suckers of our economy. They are ‘Shylocks’. Actually they are curse to Indian economy,” the bench,also comprising Justices Madan B Lokur and Kurian Joseph,said.

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