Govt asked to recover profits made by oil firms during ‘artificial shortage’

Published June 26, 2021
The government was also directed to take steps for the audit of all oil marketing companies and form a committee, if required, to examine the existing rules and regulations. — Wikimedia Commons/File
The government was also directed to take steps for the audit of all oil marketing companies and form a committee, if required, to examine the existing rules and regulations. — Wikimedia Commons/File

LAHORE: The Lahore High Court (LHC) on Friday directed the federal government to take steps for the recovery of illegal profits the oil marketing companies (OMCs) made by creating an artificial shortage of petroleum products in the country during the first half of 2020.

Announcing the judgement on several public interest petitions, Chief Justice Muhammad Qasim Khan ordered the government to form a committee for the recovery of unlawful gains from the OMCs.

The government was also directed to take steps for the audit of all OMCs and form a committee, if required, to examine the existing rules and regulations. In the light of facts and circumstances the committee may recommend new legislation or amendments to the existing ones.

The judgement said the federal government must initiate legal action against those involved in malpractices or found responsible for creating the artificial shortage. It also directed the government to ensure that strategic reserves were maintained in all eventualities.

LHC orders authorities to get all the companies audited

In this case, the government had on July 28, 2020 constituted a commission, which conducted a probe while taking all stakeholders on board.

The verdict directed the federal government to ensure immediate release of the commission’s report regarding the artificial shortage of petroleum products. The government was directed to submit a compliance report to the additional registrar (judicial) of the LHC within three months regarding the steps taken.

The chief justice ordered chief secretaries of the provinces to take effective steps to empower the district administrations so that they may play a better role in such a situation.

He also asked the government to examine the report of the commission regarding dissolution of the Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (Ogra) through a high-powered committee.

“However, if such committee concludes that Ogra should remain in field then immediately the rules relating thereto must be revisited and fresh rules/regulations be framed and the authority should closely watch the working of Ogra and other autonomous bodies,” the CJ added.

Published in Dawn, June 26th, 2021

Opinion

Editorial

Crime against humanity
Updated 03 Dec 2021

Crime against humanity

The government has yet to fulfil its long-standing pledge to criminalise enforced disappearances.
03 Dec 2021

Revised valuations

THE revised property valuations notified by the FBR for 40 cities for the purpose of collecting federal taxes —...
03 Dec 2021

PWD await rights

ON the International Day of Disabled Persons, it is important to take stock of how far Pakistan has come in ensuring...
02 Dec 2021

Funding for polls

THE PTI government’s autocratic mentality is again on full display, even as it feigns adherence to the law....
02 Dec 2021

Soaring prices

PRICES are surging. And they are increasing at a much faster pace than anticipated, burdening millions of...
Ali Wazir’s bail
Updated 02 Dec 2021

Ali Wazir’s bail

IT has been a long time coming, but MNA and Pashtun Tahaffuz Movement leader Ali Wazir has finally been granted bail...