The Kerala high court on Friday termed the frequent hike in prices of petroleum products as "slow death", while the Congress-led UDF government decided to forgo the state's share of additional tax on petrol, making it cheaper by 37 paise.
Also, the state assembly unanimously passed a resolution urging the central government to have a larger say in the price control mechanism.
A division bench, headed by acting chief justice CN Ramachandran, made the observation while hearing a public interest litigation filed by former MP PC Thomas, who sought direction to the Centre to roll back deregulation of petrol prices.
The court said political parties spearheaded protests against price rise for their vested interests. "Political parties are making up protests. There are no consumer resistances. They are getting adjusted to the frequent hikes. We are concerned," the court observed.
It said in the last one year there was a 40% hike in petrol prices, giving enough hardships to common man.
Coming down heavily on oil companies it said their "version cannot be trusted", as they were riddled with "corruption and commission". Often their losses were manipulated, the court observed. It directed government-owned and private petrol companies to produce their balance sheets and quarterly reports in three weeks.
However, the court said granting authority for fixing prices of petroleum products was a policy matter and it couldn't interfere in the present hike.