- CJP says government has no authority to issue notification on hike in power tariff
- Government will have to face consequences of illegal act
Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry has remarked the latest hike in power tariff was an additional burden on those paying electricity bills honestly.
CJP said, “Prices are declining internationally and on the other side, prices are being scaled up in our country. What will people do except dying in such a situation?”
Presiding over a three-member bench conducting hearing in the suo motu notice on load shedding crisis, the CJP said the recent raise in the tariff should not have been sanctioned.
“The government has no authority to issue notification on hike in power tariff this way. Under what authority has the government jacked up the tariff? If the government cannot make recovery of Rs 441 billion, why is it increasing the power tariff?”
He remarked, “We will issue an order on Wednesday in respect of illegal orders of the government. The government will have to face the consequences of this illegal act. The energy policy is merely eyewash.”
Justice Jawwad S Khawaja said the law and constitution were in place. “Nadir Shahi system will not be allowed to run. This increase is the commissioning of a direct robbery on the pockets of people that cannot be allowed in any way. The notification is illegal,” he said.
The NEPRA chairman told the court that all DISCOs had requested for slashing the power tariff, but the government had increased it.
He said Azad Jammu and Kashmir had to pay Rs 24 billion, provinces Rs 74 billion, FATA Rs 20 billion and private sector Rs 28 billion as outstanding bills.
“Overall, Rs 441 have not been recovered so far. Several institutions are still defaulters in respect of payment of bills,” he said.
The CJP asked if that was the writ of the government.
“Bills are not being recovered and on the other hand power tariff is being jacked up.”
The court directed the deputy attorney general (DAG) to immediately present the notification on hike in power tariff before it.
The DAG said the water and power secretary was in a meeting, therefore, the notification could not be submitted.
The court expressed annoyance over it and ordered for filing the notification.
The CJP said the government was not authorized to issue notification on recent hike in power tariff. “If the notification is proven wrong, the court will issue its interim order.”
The DAG later presented the notification in the court which was issued by NEPRA on September 30.
Justice Jawwad S Khawaja remarked, “This is not a notification of the government. NEPRA is not the government. Therefore, the notification issued by the government be presented in the court.”
The court later sought a reply from the federal government within 24 hours besides demanding the notification issued by the government.
The hearing of the case was adjourned until today (Wednesday).