ISLAMABAD - The Supreme Court on Monday asked the Chief Justice of Lahore High Court to decide the petition regarding 3G spectrum within a week.
A three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry heard a petition seeking a direction for urgent auction of 3G cellular licence, utilisation of USF and appointment of chairman and members of boards in Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA).
The bench asked the LHC that if the matter is not decided within a week then send it to the registrar SC so that the apex court could decide about the case in accordance with the constitution.
Muhammad Imran, counsel of the Ministry of Information Technology, informed the bench that on account of the stay order by the LHC, the ministry could not proceed further regarding the appointment of PTA chairman and its members.
Advocate Ali Raza representing the petitioner Khurram Shahzad Chughtai, said ministry of finance had transferred Rs 62 billion to the consolidated fund from the Universal Services Fund (USF) after making amendments in the relevant rules.
He opposed the move saying under the constitution only the money generated through revenue could be deposited in FCF and the USF was deducted from the income of the mobile operators and was meant for welfare of the people living in remote and underdeveloped areas of Pakistan.
He said that funds were placed from IT Ministry-USF account to Federal Consolidated Fund (FCF) of ministry of finance in pursuance of the Economic Coordination Committee's (ECC) decision and the federal government issued necessary notification for amendments in USF Rules 2006.
The rule was substituted as the USF shall be kept in the FCF and the ministry of finance shall release funds of the USF in accordance with the procedure laid down in these rules through budgetary mechanism, he further said.
The secretary IT said that since January the PTA has not been functioning, adding they had written to the Cabinet Division regarding the matter but nothing happened so far. The chief justice said that virtually the PTA was shut.
The secretary further informed the bench that a summary has been sent to the Prime Minister.
The case was adjourned till 2nd September.