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Centre's MIP order on steel products in public interest: HC

Delhi High Court on Tuesday said that the Centre's February 5 notification providing minimum import price (MIP) on specified iron and steel products for a period of six months is in public interest to "stabilise the domestic market". 

"We are prima facie satisfied that the notification is nothing but a policy decision taken by the Government of India in the interest of public and to stabilise the domestic market of steel," a bench of Chief Justice G Rohini and Justice Jayant Nath said.

"Hence, we find force in the submissions of respondents (Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Ministry of Finance and Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT)) that staying the notification pending the writ petition would be against public interest," it added. The court's observation came on pleas filed by Steel Wire Manufacturers Association of India and other firms seeking to declare the notification of February 5, 2016, imposing MIP for various steel products by government as "illegal, arbitrary and unconstitutional" and a direction to restrain government from implementing it.

The court, however, in its interim order said, "In facts and circumstances of the case, we consider it appropriate to direct the goods shipped by the foreign suppliers shall be cleared by the port authorities subject to the condition of the petitioners depositing with the Commissioner of Customs (Import) of concerned port the difference of the price between MIP and the agreed contractual price. 

Such deposit shall be subject to the outcome of the writ petition." The bench has now listed the matter for further hearing on July 27.
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