10 August 2020


International Cases

In the matter of Show cause notice issued to Pakistan Telecommunication Company ltd (ptcl) on complaint filed by m/s linkdotnet telecom ltd and Ors.

Pakistan

14.09.2018

MRTP/ Competition Laws

Once Court recognized its jurisdiction over a public interest matter, applicant is not entitled to halt proceedings by unilateral withdrawal

Issue involved in present case was relating to maintainability of proceedings initiated vide Show Cause Notice No. 70/2012 dated 14th June 2012 (SCN') issued to Pakistan Tele-communication Company Limited (' Respondent or PTCL') for prima facie violation under Section 3 of Competition Act, 2010. SCN was issued pursuant to a complaint filed with the Competition Commission of Pakistan ('Commission') by LinkdotNet Telecom Ltd, Nexlinx (Pvt.) Limited and Micronet Broadband (Pvt.) Limited (the 'Complainants') whereby it was alleged that, the Respondent had engaged in abuse of its dominant position in violation of Section 3 of Act.

Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (Re-Organization) Act, 1996 (PTRA) dealt with regulation of telecommunication sector and said exclusive role under PTRA was entrusted to Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA). Similarly, under Act, Commission was entrusted with exclusive domain "to provide free competition in all spheres of commercial and economic activity to enhance economic efficiency and to protect consumers from anti-competitive behaviours. Objections of PTCL were not well founded and Commission possessed exclusive jurisdiction under Act to take cognizance of alleged conduct by PTCL.

Further, under provisions of Section 3 7(2) of Act, it was a mandatory obligation of Commission to conduct an enquiry in matter complained of, unless it was of opinion, that application/complaint was frivolous or vexatious or was based on the insufficient facts or was not substantiated with prima facie evidence. Commission was entrusted with responsibility of looking after interest of general public vis-à-vis anti-competitive conduct and to create a level playing field in order to enhance economic efficiency in all spheres of commercial and economic activity and that too in public interest, such like the one alleged against PTCL in instant matter. Hence, unilateral withdrawal of complaint by Complainants did not prejudice proceedings against PTCL pending before Commission.

Once Court recognized its jurisdiction over a public interest matter, applicant was not entitled to halt proceedings by her unilateral withdrawal since interest of public at large was now at stake. The applicant was allowed to withdraw herself from proceedings, however proceedings would continue. Accordingly, proceedings before Commission in matter of Show Cause Notice issued to PTCL for prima facie violation under Section 3 of Act were maintainable and shall continue in accordance with law.

Tags : Jurisdiction Complaint Withdrawal

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