SC suspends stay on incoming call tax
LAHORE, Feb 21: A two-judge bench of the Supreme Court on Thursday suspended operation of an interim order passed by the Lahore High Court against the recovery of additional taxes on incoming calls to Pakistan.
The bench headed by Justice Tassaduq Hussain Jillani directed the stakeholder-companies (Local Loop Operators) and the Pakistan Telecommunications Authority to take up the matter with the Competition Commission of Pakistan (CCP).
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 the appropriate forum to decide such matters.
Petitioners prayed to the court to set aside the LHC stay order.
An additional attorney general told the court that a notification of the impugned tax was already withdrawn.
The SC bench suspended the stay order and referred the matter to the CCP with directions to the parties to approach the commission.
On Monday, the PTA told the LHC that action was being taken against the companies violating the court’s stay order about additional tax. Justice Khalid Mahmood Khan had extended the stay till March 15.
The 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.
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 behaviour.