ISLAMABAD – The Supreme Court of Pakistan Tuesday directed the federal government to appoint members of National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (NEPRA) Appellate Tribunal within 10 day
A two-member bench of the apex court headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan Justice Gulzar Ahmed issued these directions while hearing a suo moto notice case related to the excessive and unannounced loadshedding in Sindh.
The bench also directed the federal government to make the tribunal functional and provide all necessary infrastructure for its immediate working.
The apex court noted in its order that the Authority may proceed to implement Section 26 of the Act of 1997 and make its determination, said the court.
While making such determination, the Authority shall not be hampered by any court, either by issuing of any injunctive order or issuing of any writ. The Authority, after making the determination, which it shall do within one month, will file a report before this court.
“Under Section 12A of the Act of 1997, the federal government is required to constitute an Appellate Tribunal.” The court was apprised that the notification of constitution of the Tribunal has already been issued but members of the Tribunal have not been appointed yet. The bench, therefore, ordered the federal government to appoint the members within 10 days.
Expressing dismay over the reply of Power Division of the Ministry of Energy report, Justice Gulzar Ahmed said, “We have examined the reply and found it to be thoroughly unacceptable and does not comply with the Court’s order.”
The court noted that it seems that this very reply of Power Division goes contrary to what NEPRA is doing and taking action against K-Electric. It added, “There seems to be no coordination between the Power Division, NEPRA and NTDC.”
It further stated that the Ministry of Energy is required to ensure that there is proper coordination between all the departments and whatever is to be done with regard to K-Electric should be coordinated decision taken by all the relevant departments, agencies and companies, and the same should be executed by one department i.e. there should be one window operation with the K-Electric.
The Chief Justice said that since 2015 K-Electric has not given a single penny to the government. He said that Karachi that used to generate 60% to 70% revenue has now nothing to give. He further said that billions of rupees were allocated for Karachi but nothing is spent on it. Everyone wants to make money out of Karachi and to deposit in their foreign accounts. Already billions of rupees have been transferred abroad, the Chief Justice added.
He questioned that where is the writ of the federal government? He added a person who remained Karachi mayor for four years has not laid down a single drainage pipeline. He said that the government is responsible to look after the city, adding they are aware that those who involved in wheeling and dealing of Karachi did nothing for the city and contrary to that snatched bread from the poor people.
Justice Ijazul Ahsan said that the K-Electric had made people of Karachi hostage.
Chief Justice Gulzar Ahmed said that K-Electric is playing horrible game with the people of Karachi.
Attorney General Khalid Jawed Khan contended that since the last date of hearing (13-08-2020) the situation in Karachi has become bad to worse as on the present day almost half of Karachi does not have supply of electricity.
Abid Zuberi, counsel for E-Electric, said that the state of affairs was due to the rains in the city as the infrastructure of the E-Electric has submerged or inundated in the water.
The bench said that if that be so, K-Electric, being a private company, should apply its own resources for ensuring clearing of its sub-stations and other distribution network from the rain water and it in this regard cannot wait for any assistance from the government.
The court further said that the K-Electric is a private company, which has to do its own work and its basic work being supply of electricity to the city of Karachi, such work cannot be interrupted for a mere reason that its installations have been affected by rain. As a private institution, it should immediately care for such installations and have it cleared immediately, so that electricity supply is restored to its consumers.
It added that K-Electric cannot blame any institution of the government in this regard, for that, K-Electric has to do its own work and maintain its installations and also to secure them from any whether effect.
The attorney general submitted that he has not been able to consult the officials of the Ministry of Energy (Power Division), therefore, needs time for such consultation and thereafter, shall give a proper report to the Court. He referred the Section 26 of the Regulation of Generation, Transmission and Distribution of Electric Power Act, 1997.
The AGP contended that the issue of electricity in Karachi is that K-Electric has exclusive right of generation and distribution of electricity in the city of Karachi and therefore, to overcome the issue of exclusivity, the above quoted provision of law has to be given effect and the determination has to be made by the Authority.
The court noted, “As the law has provided the provision, we do not see any impediment as to why the Authority is not empowered to give effect to the said provision of law.”
Later, the apex court adjourned the hearing for one week in this matter.