LHC denies stays to two oil marketing companies, issues notice to Centre

Published August 3, 2021
The Lahore High Court building. — Photo courtesy Wikimedia Commons/File
The Lahore High Court building. — Photo courtesy Wikimedia Commons/File

LAHORE: A Lahore High Court (LHC) two-judge bench on Monday denied two oil marketing companies (OMCs) a stay against a single bench order wherein the federal government was asked to ensure recovery of illegal gains the companies made by creating an artificial shortage of the petroleum products that hit the country during the first half of 2020.

The bench, comprising Justice Rasaal Hassan Syed and Justice Abid Hussain Chattha, heard two separate intra courts appeals (ICAs) filed by Hascol Petroleum and Byco Petroleum.

The counsel for the companies asked the bench to suspend the order passed by the single bench as an immediate relief. However, the division bench observed that the stay could not be granted without hearing the point of view of the federal government.

The bench turned down the request and issued notices to the government and other respondents for a date to be fixed later.

On June 25, former chief justice Muhammad Qasim Khan had issued the impugned decision on several public interest petitions. He had ordered the government to form a committee for recovery of unlawful gains from the OMCs.

The government was also directed to take steps for audit of all the OMCs and in the light of such an audit report, if required, a committee or sub-committee shall be constituted to examine the existing rules and regulations, which in the facts and circumstances, might propose amendments/recommend new legislation.

The impugned judgement said the government must culminate legal action against those involved in malpractices of whatsoever nature or found responsible for creating the artificial shortage.

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

The LHC had directed the government to ensure the release of the report of the commission on the artificial shortage of petroleum products immediately. The government was asked to submit a compliance report within three months to the additional registrar (judicial) of the LHC about the steps taken by it.

Published in Dawn, August 3rd, 2021

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