Sunday December 05, 2021

LHC stops FIA from taking action against OMCs

August 27, 2021
LHC stops FIA from taking action against OMCs

LAHORE: A Lahore High Court two-judge bench has restrained the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) from taking any adverse action against the Oil Marketing Companies (OMCs) in the light of recommendations by a commission made to probe an artificial shortage of petroleum products that hit the country during the first half of 2020.

The bench comprising Justice Jawad Hassan and Justice Raheel Kamran Sheikh issued the stay order on intra-court appeals filed by the Hascol Petroleum, the Byco Petroleum and others.

The counsel for the companies argued that the FIA had no jurisdiction to deal with such matters but the Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (Ogra). He said the appellants/companies paid fine and the matter is yet to be decided by the Ogra while the report of the commission was against the TORs made by the LHC.

He said that without hearing the appellants, the whole exercise violates the fundamental right of trade and profession guaranteed to the appellants under Article 18 of the Constitution. He said the FIA has been sending call-up notices to the appellants without mentioning reasons and any legal provision due to which the appellants are being harassed by the respondents.

Deputy Attorney General Asad Ali Bajwa placed on record the report of the Cabinet Division according to which the government is taking action on the recommendations of the commission.

Advocate Azhar Siddique, on behalf of a respondent/citizen, objected to the maintainability of the appeals on the ground that neither the TORs nor the report were ever challenged by the OMCs and the FIA and other agencies are acting in pursuance of a decision taken by the cabinet.

The bench admitted the ICAs for regular hearing, and sought replies from the respondents by Aug 30. The bench restrained the FIA and other respondents from taking adverse action against the appellants till the next hearing.