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Monday November 29, 2021

SC allows CCP to probe ghee, cooking oil companies, Suspends LHC stay order

November 23, 2021
SC allows CCP to probe ghee, cooking oil companies, Suspends LHC stay order

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court of Pakistan on Monday suspended the Lahore High Court order to halt an inquiry against ghee and cooking oil companies and allowed the Competition Commission of Pakistan (CCP) to continue probing price hike in daily-use commodities.

A three-member bench of the apex court, headed by Justice Umer Ata Bandial, heard the petition of the Competition Commission of Pakistan challenging the stay order granted by the Lahore High Court halting the inquiry against ghee and cooking oil companies. The court suspended the stay order and allowed the Competition Commission of Pakistan to continue its inquiry against ghee and cooking oil companies and adjourned the matter for date-in-office (indefinite period).

The court observed that the Competition Commission of Pakistan while exercising its powers continue the inquiry against the ghee mills and further and said there are some flaws in the order of the high court, which need clarification.

During the hearing, the CCP counsel submitted that complaints regarding price hike in daily use commodities were registered on the Portal of Prime Minister at which the CCP initiated the inquiry against 117 ghee mills. The counsel submitted that before initiating the inquiry, letters were written to the ghee mills for collecting information and after the replies of these ghee mills, the commission started the inquiry into the price hike of ghee and cooking oil. The counsel requested the court to suspend the LHC order as it halted the inquiry against the ghee millers.

Justice Syed Mansoor Ali Shah, another member of the bench, while raising a legal point, asked who authorized the CCP joint director to initiate the inquiry. “The Competition Commission of Pakistan decided to initiate the inquiry before writing letters to ghee millers for information”, he remarked.

The judge observed that if the CCP initiates an inquiry into the price hike, it should first tell the millers its reasons. “You have sent the notice to ghee millers but did not inform as to why you are summoning them”, Justice Mansoor Ali Shah told the CCP counsel. Meanwhile, Justice Umer Ata Bandial said they are suspending the high court order, adding that the commission may initiate the inquiry.