On Thursday a two judge bench of the Supreme Court suspended operation of an interim order passed by the Lahore High Court against the recovery of additional taxes on incoming calls to Pakistan.
The Court directed the stakeholder-companies (Local Loop Operators) and the Pakistan Telecommunications Authority to take up the matter with the Competition Commission of Pakistan (CCP).
SC said that International Clearing House case should be heard in accordance with law and resolved in 15 days by Competition Commission of Pakistan and Lahore High Court had no jurisdiction to pass such order. They said the CCP was the appropriate forum to decide such matters.
Earlier Brain Communications and other LLOs had approached the LHC against the additional tax on international incoming calls. They had taken a plea that the tax was a violation of rules prescribed in section 4 of the Competition Commission Act which prohibited price fixing and division of market through quotas. After that Lahore High Court suspended the ICH.
The ADG-LDI Pvt Limited and others had challenged the stay order against the collection of the additional tax and stated that the High Court had no jurisdiction to pass such order. They said the CCP was mandated to provide free competition in all spheres of commercial and economic activity to enhance economic efficiency and to protect consumers from anti competitive behavior. The Lahore Registry of Supreme Court accepted their petition and nullified LHC’s decision.