ISLAMABAD: Supreme Court of Pakistan has suspended the Lahore High Court’s order regarding the halting of inquiry against the ghee and oil mills, and issued directives to the Competition Commission of Pakistan (CCP) to invoke its jurisdiction against mill owners over reasons behind price hike in the country.
A three-judge bench of the apex court, led by Justice Umar Ata Bandial heard a case pertaining to an increase in the ghee and oil prices on Monday.
Counsel for the CCP Faisal Siddiqui apprised the bench court that numerous complaints about the hike in edible items’ prices were received on the PM Portal and the commission opened an inquiry against 117 mills.
He said that the commission wrote letters to these mills before starting an inquiry against them and it initiated a probe once it received the rejoinders by the mills.
A member of the bench Justice Mansoor Ali Shah asked whether the authority passed an order before writing to the ghee mills about the inquiry details. He inquired saying who granted authority to the joint director to start a probe. He noticed that the inquiries were stopped on the Lahore High Court order.
Justice Mansoor Ali Shah further remarked the CCP has served notices without providing a reason as to why it has summoned the mill owners. He remarked if the structure of inquiry was not followed in the beginning, then it was not possible to continue with the probe. If the commission wanted to initiate an inquiry into price hikes, it should tell the mill owners about the reasons. The competition commission lawyer informed the bench that all inquiries were pending on the order of the LHC.
However, Justice Bandial held the LHC order in abeyance and directed the commission to start an inquiry against the mills using its powers. He observed that there were some flaws in the LHC order which warranted explanation. Later, the court adjourned the hearing of the case for an indefinite period of time.