The Supreme Court has cleared a hike in the price of gas in the second phase overriding a ban on it by the High Court.
On Monday, the Appellate Division bench led by Chief Justice Surendra Kumar Sinha upheld the stay on the High Court’s order.
On Feb 23, the Bangladesh Energy Regulatory Commission or BERC made a public announcement fixing monthly gas bills for one burner at Tk 750 and two burners at Tk 800 for households, effective from Mar 1.
The same notification said the prices will be hiked once again from Jun 1 to Tk 900 for one burner and Tk 950 for two burners.
Prices of compressed natural gas or CNG, used in motor vehicles, also rose to Tk 38 per cubic metre in March from Tk 35. The BERC said in the second phase it would be revised to Tk 40.
The gas price hike drew flak from consumer rights activists, business entities and political parties.
On Feb 28, the High Court froze the decision to raise gas prices for second time after a petition filed by the Consumers Association of Bangladesh or CAB.
The CAB had cited the BERC law in its petition after gas prices were increased for the second time this year in February.
The law prohibits the energy regulator from changing tariffs more than once in a fiscal year unless fuel prices change.
The court had also issued a rule then asking why the public announcement, which violates the law, should not be deemed illegal.
The state moved the Supreme Court’s chamber judge against it and secured a stay order on Jun 1. The chamber judge forwarded the matter to the Appellate Division.
On Monday, the chief justice-led appeal bench also ordered the High Court rule to be resolved by Jul 31.
Attorney General Mahbubey Alam, who represented the state, told the media: “There’s no more hurdle in implementing the new rates from Jun 1.”