THE days of the cheap samosa are over. While the savoury little delight is consumed with great relish by Pakistanis around the year, sales of the samosa skyrocket during Ramazan as it is a staple of the iftar spread. However, the Supreme Court has set aside a notification of the Punjab government regulating the price of samosas. As reported in the media, in 2009 the Lahore local government had fixed the price of the crispy delight at Rs6 a samosa. The local government’s machinery took action against some shopkeepers found to be selling more expensive samosas. However, not satisfied with the price set for their product, the bakers and sweet-makers of the Punjab went to court. When the Lahore High Court turned down their petition, the bakers appealed to the Supreme Court. They felt the samosa did not fall within the purview of the Punjab Foodstuffs (Control) Act, 1958, hence the government could not fix its prices, a notion the apex court seemed to agree with.
While the commercial bakers will rejoice at the verdict, others waiting for justice in Pakistan’s ever-clogged judicial system may be wondering when their turn will come. With a question of interpretation of a law at stake, the Supreme Court was the ultimate forum for resolving the matter, however trifling it may appear to the average citizen. The question, then, is whether the superior judiciary should devise some rules and a system to fast-track more urgent and serious matters for justice rather than spend valuable time on a regulation that is virtually unenforceable in any case — the proof of that being a visit to any market in Lahore where samosas are openly being sold for much higher than Rs6. Samosa-makers may be happy and another case struck from the superior judiciary’s docket, but was it the court’s best use of time at this stage?