The Supreme Court on Wednesday upheld the Central government’s policy of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in multi-brand retail.
A Bench comprising Justice R M Lodha, Justice Madan B Lokur and Justice Kurian Joseph after hearing lengthy arguments said that the policy did not suffer from any constitutional or statutory infirmity.
In the process, the Bench dismissed the petition filed by advocate Manohar Lal Sharma challenging the policy of FDI.
In its order, the Bench said, “On matters concerning policy, this court will not interfere unless it is unconstitutional, contrary to statutory provisions, arbitrary, irrational or in abuse of power.” The Bench said that the impugned policy allowing FDI in multi-brand retail did not suffer from any virus and there was no merit in the challenge to it.
Just before passing the order dismissing the petition, Justice Lodha perused the paragraphs pointed out earlier by the Attorney General G E Vahanvati as objectionable in the rejoinder filed by the petitioner Sharma and told Sharma that he is going to impose heavy costs on him for making those averments.
When Sharma pleaded not to do so, Justice Lodha said, “We will not impose costs if you withdraw your rejoinder in its entirety.” To this Sharma agreed.
Earlier, Sharma told the Bench that the FDI policy would eradicate the traditional trader.
Justice Lodha told the petitioner that the idea was to do away with the middlemen who were sucking the economy. “It is the underlying principle. What is wrong with the policy?” he asked.
Middlemen are a curse to the economy. Consumer is the king.
The Centre has given the examples of Indonesia, Argentina, Brazil etc where FDI worked well. Why can’t you look forward?
Indians are intelligent. It is stated that even after the introduction of super markets, 99 per cent of the fresh food continues to be with local retailers and people have not fallen for it, Justice Lodha pointed out.