The judges spoke after Additional Solicitor General Rajeeve Mehra, appearing for the Central Government, assured the court that major steps have been taken to control onion prices. Mehra, submitting a status report filed by the department of consumer affairs of the Agriculture Ministry, told the court that onion prices depend on production and arrival of onions and domestic prices of the kitchen staple tend to peak on September-November and fall January-March every year.

The Central Government has sent a request to Maharashtra, which produces the largest quantity of onions, to supply onions to Delhi, Mehra added. Social worker Poonam Jain, who filed the PIL, said that the government's failure to curb hoarding in Delhi and in Maharashtra had led to scarcity.

The PIL also accused the government of turning a blind eye to illegal trade and not revising its export policy that has pushed up prices of onions to around Rs 70 to Rs 90 per kg. The plea asked the court to ‘direct respondents to take special measures to supply onions in the market in sufficient quantity.'

(Agencies)

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