The Supreme Court on Monday refused to vacate a stay of Lahore High Court (LHC) which has suspended certain clauses of the new Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG Production and Distribution) Policy 2011.
A bench headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry refused to vacate the stay after hearing contentions of Karim Khan Agha, Additional Attorney General for Pakistan.
The plea was moved by the Federation praying review of the LHC verdict over a policy devised by Government for importing LPG. The bench in its order said that the Federation might approach the LHC for raising similar contentions as a proper forum and after availing the remedy, it could move the apex Court.
It observed that if a plea was moved by the Federation, the LHC might fix it for hearing within two-week time.
At the outset of proceedings, the Additional Attorney General maintained that the LHC order over the LPG policy would further affect the issue of shortage of gas in the Winter season.
He cautioned that if such a stay remained in place, it would also disturb the supply process and even would not be available for a large section of domestic consumers. The Chief Justice citing a press report of an English daily remarked that the whole policy was devised to benefit a particular party.
He said that in the report it was feared that the policy would surge gas prices and all burden would be passed on to the consumers. He further observed that newspapers reports claimed that the government had ignored the relevant rules over LPG policy.
The Lahore High Court, on October 3, had suspended operation of the certain clauses of the new LPG (Production and Distribution) Policy 2011 and on October 6 further extended the stay period.
Justice Syed Mansoor Ali Shah of LHC through an interim order had suspended operation of the clauses 3.1, 3.4.1 and 3.4.2 of the impugned policy. According to the petitioners, the suspended clauses of the new LPG policy was formulated by the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Resources without taking any input from the actual stake-holders, gave monopoly rights to the public sector over Pakistan’s LPG sector, imposed a Petroleum Development Levy forcing a mandatory increase in local LPG producer prices, and obligated LPG marketing companies to purchase 20 per cent of their supplies from LPG importers and brokers.