Lahore: According to news reports, on Monday, a two-judge bench of the Lahore High Court (LHC) denied two oil marketing companies (OMCs) a stay against a single bench order asking the federal government to ensure recovery of illegal gains made by the companies by creating an artificial shortage of petroleum products that hit the country in the first half of 2020.

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Justice Rasaal Hassan Syed and Justice Abid Hussain Chattha presided over the hearing of two different intra-court appeals (ICAs) brought by Hascol Petroleum and Byco Petroleum.

As an immediate relief, the companies’ attorneys urged the bench to suspend the single bench’s order. The division bench, on the other hand, stated that the stay could not be given without first hearing the federal government’s side of the story.

The court denied the plea and sent notices to the government and other respondents for a later date to be determined.

Former Chief Justice Muhammad Qasim Khan announced the contested judgment on a number of public interest petitions on June 25. He had directed that the government set up a committee to recoup illegal gains from the OMCs.

The government was also asked to take steps to conduct an audit of all OMCs, and if necessary, a committee or sub-committee be formed to assess existing rules and regulations and, depending on the facts and circumstances, suggest revisions or recommend new laws.

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The LHC had ordered the government to release the commission’s report on the artificial shortage of petroleum products as soon as possible. The government was required to submit a compliance report to the LHC’s extra registrar (judicial) within three months detailing the efforts it had taken.

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