Mobile phone service providers have started the implementation of a Supreme Court order to remove service/maintenance charges on pre-paid cellular scratch cards, Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) spokesperson Khurram Mehran told a local TV on Monday.
On a scratch card of Rs100, a user will now receive a top-up of Rs88.9 instead of Rs76.94.
Mehran said that in a earlier hearing this year, the apex court had told mobile phone service providers that they could apply a 12.5 per cent withholding tax. However, the court had told them to abolish the 10 pc administrative/service charges.
On public complaints, the apex court in 2018 took up a case relating to unreasonable deduction of tax/other charges from mobile phone pre-paid cards and easy load, besides deducting Rs40 in the form of different taxes for every Rs100 charge.
Taking suo motu notice on May 3 last year, the then chief justice Mian Saqib Nisar had asked whether deduction of Rs40 on every scratch card of Rs100 was not exploitation and observed that the matter involved public interest.
During one of the hearings, the court was told that the state had suffered a loss of about Rs90 billion since the issuance of the suspension order.
In April this year, the apex court restored deduction of withholding tax and sales tax on pre-paid cellular scratch cards by vacating the earlier suspension order.
The SC, however, stated that the telecom companies were not allowed to impose any service/maintenance charge.
The order read: “The cellular telecom companies are not allowed to impose any service/maintenance charge thereon as they have elected not to impose these charges.”