HC stays Tea Marketing Control Order

CHENNAI JAN. 28. The Madras High Court today stayed the operation of the Tea Marketing Control Order (TMCO) 2003, which seeks to bring the buyers into the regulatory control of the Tea Board.

Justice P. Sathasivam granted the interim injunction on a petition filed by the Tea Buyers Association of Coimbatore, and also ordered notices to the Union Commerce Secretary and the Tea Board Chairman, returnable in two weeks.

The former Union Minister and senior counsel, P. Chidambaram, appearing for the petitioner-organisation, submitted that the Board had gone beyond the recommendations made by the A. F. Ferguson & Co, which was engaged by the board to fix a fair price for tea, following the low price realisation by tea growers in the wake of the decontrol of tea auction sales.

According to the petitioner, though the object of the TMCO 2003 was to fix a reasonable price for the grower, the Tea Act did not empower the Union Government or the Tea Board to determine as to what should be the reasonable price of tea.

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