A supermarket in India
A supermarket in IndiaReuters

The opening up of the retail sector to Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) received a nod from the parliament after a heated debate and voting last month. The Supreme Court has now asked the centre to come up with measures to safeguard the interests of small traders in the country.

Hearing a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed against the decision of the government to allow FDI in retail, the Supreme Court bench headed by Justice R.M. Lodha asked the government if the policy bore fruit through investment or was just another political gimmick.

Attorney General Goolam E Vahanvati, who represented the government, said that it's not a political gimmick but a serious economic reform that the government put forward after analyzing all the aspects including the interests of small traders.

"What are the checks put by the Centre in the policy so as not to affect the small traders to allay the fears of small traders? If big companies adopt unfair trade practices and bring down the prices what will happen to small traders?" the court asked the government, according to NDTV.

"Reforms can go on but that should not close the doors for small traders. We are not policy makers, but a policy has to be within the Constitutional parameters. We do not substitute policies but whether it is reasonable or violate the Constitution," added the court.

The government should file its response on the query of the court within three weeks.

The UPA government in December defeated the motion moved by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the Lok Sabha after the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and Samajwadi Party (SP), which gave external support to the government on the issue, staged a walkout before the voting began. The government also won votes in the Upper House of the parliament.