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February 26, 2020

CCP restrained from passing final order in inquiry against coal handling firm

Karachi

February 26, 2020

The Sindh High Court (SHC) on Tuesday directed the Competition Commission of Pakistan (CCP) to continue its proceedings against the coal handling company at the Port Qasim for violating its laws and abusing its dominant position. The high court, however, restrained the CCP from passing a final order till next date of hearing.

The direction came on a petition of the Pakistan International Bulk Terminal (PIBT), a company that deals with coal handling, clinker and cement on BoT basis at the Port Qasim, against an inquiry report and show-cause notice by the CCP for violating the competition commission laws. The petitioner said Lucky commodities had lodged complaint at the CCP accusing the PIBT of increasing handling tariff during the period from September 2018 to December 2018 and implementing ancillary charges without objectives basis.

The CCP’s show-cause notice also referred to an inquiry report in which it was held that the ancillary charges were unfair and without any objective justification. The report concluded that the practice of asking some customers to pay advance payments appeared to be discriminatory as other customers had not been asked to deposit the advance which was in fact violation of the section 3 of the CCP Act.

The petitioner’s counsel submitted that a civil suit was pending before the high court on the same ground but despite its pendency not only the inquiry was conducted but in pursuance thereof a show-cause notice was also issued which was illegal and unjustified.

A division bench headed by Justice Mohammad Ali Mazhar issued notices to the CCP and other respondents for March 4 and in the meantime observed that the competition commission may continue its proceedings in pursuance of the show-cause notice to the petitioner.