The Supreme Court (SC) has directed the government to review the recent hike in power tariff and withdraw the notification, otherwise the court will pronounce its order on Friday.
This order was issued by a three-member bench of the SC presided over by Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry on a statement given by Khawaja Asif during the course of hearing of power load shedding case on Wednesday.
Asif had told the court in his statement that the government intended to review the notification related to hike in power tariff.
The CJP remarked, “Issuing notification on hike in power tariff without the recommendations of NEPRA stands to no justification. If the government has to drop nuclear bomb in the shape of inflation on the people then it should tell clearly that it will have to be tolerated by the people at every cost.”
“If the court does not interfere then how will law and constitution be adhered to? Powers to determine power tariff in respect of all distribution companies rests with NEPRA. The September 30 notification has not been issued by NEPRA, as it has expressed ignorance about it. Where doe the notification stand?”
“There is no control over those who are using electricity through kunda system, nor are the electricity bills being recovered. The entire burden is placed on the shoulders of the people paying bills. Power theft will escalate if the government fails to control power tariff hike.”
“Gas is provided to the industries at subsidized rates and the industrial sector earns profit at double the rate. There should be a uniform policy for every one. Good and bad people are present in every society but the others have to be tolerated for the sake of a few people.”
Justice Jawwad S Khawaja remarked, “Whosoever pays bill has to suffer for those who steal electricity or acquires electricity through kunda system. The burden of those who don’t pay bill is shifted to the shoulders of those who pay bills. The government has to protect the consumers. No subsidy is allowed in Islamabad because people here are honest. The ratio of subsidy will be higher in those cities where recovery level is low.”
Justice Gulzar Ahmad said no one could supply electricity other than KESC in Karachi. “Power distribution companies supply electricity throughout Pakistan. There is no choice for the people of Karachi.”
Attorney General (AG) Munir A Malik appeared before the court during the course of hearing and said that nine companies had complained that less recovery was being made, therefore, tariff be enhanced. “The NEPRA is an autonomous body and it does everything on its own.”
The CJP remarked, “The September 30 notification was not issued by NEPRA.”
But the AG said NEPRA had issued the scheduled notification.
The CJP inquired what was the difference between August 5 and September 30 notifications?
The AG said the August 5 notification stood determined.
The CJP remarked that the federal government could not exercise the powers of NEPRA.
The NEPRA chairman said, “Different tariff was sought in respect of nine distribution companies. The tariff determined by the government recently is even less than our belief.”
Khawaja Asif said the government would review the notification pertaining to increase in the tariff, sought time from the court for reviewing the notification.