IHC Reserved Judgement in PTA VS DVCom Case
(Published in Daily Jang and TheNews on Saturday, June 27th, 2015)
Islamabad (Friday, June 26, 2015) – Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Friday reserved its judgment over Pakistan Telecommunication Authority’s (PTA) claim of Rs1.6 billion against a telecom company M/s DVCom, asking the authority’s counsel to submit his written argument before next Friday.
An IHC single bench headed by Justice Amir Farooq resumed hearing into the case. DVCom’s lawyer Muhammad Shahzad Shaukat concluded his arguments against the late payment charges of Rs1.6 billion claimed by PTA.
Earlier, IHC had asked the PTA to decide the matter .It appears that PTA took the payment of the unpaid amount without taking the late fee/damages and just before or after doing so, allowed the change of management/ownership in DVCOM. This may have allowed a new buyer to make this payment but now the new buyer is trying to avoid late payment fee.
DV Com, owned by stock market broker Aqeel Karim Dhedhi had purchased the wireless local loop (WLL) licence from the PTA almost a decade ago but failed to make full payment under the purchase deal within the stipulated time. The company had also failed to complete the roll out of services which was mandatory under the deal between PTA and DVCom. Although the principal amount had finally been paid by DVCom earlier this year, the company was still not willing to pay 2 percent late payment charges levied by the PTA.
The counsel for PTA Barrister Munawwar Iqbal Duggal on Thursday sought permission to present counter argument but the court asked him to submit his arguments in writing before next Friday.
During the last hearing, Barrister Duggal had presented detailed arguments before the IHC regarding the authority’s claim of late payment charges. He was of the view that under the Terms of Reference (ToRs) of the PTA licence, DVCom was bound to pay the late payment charges to the authority for failing to meet its obligation. To support his argument, he had quoted three previous judgments of the IHC where the court had directed the defaulters in similar instances to pay the late fee to the PTA.
DVCom had already sold the frequency spectrum licence to another telecom company this year. According to the PTA, the company had paid the principal amount which had been pending for the last 10 years.