Welcome to official website of PRES

Govt has failed to end loadshedding: LHC CJ

The Lahore High Court chief justice observed on Friday that the federal government had miserably failed to fulfil its constitutional obligation regarding the elimination of the menace of loadshedding. The people at the realm of affairs are enjoying deep slumber instead of lessening people’s miseries, the CJ said, adding that Nepra had evolved no mechanism to control or eliminate electricity theft and line losses.

The chief justice was hearing a petition against electricity loadshedding during Sehr, Iftar and Taraveeh timings. Judicial Activism Panel chairman Advocate Azhar Siddique had filed the petition.

On Friday, the court directed the authorities and departments concerned to take steps for the eradication of loadshedding and equitable distribution to all and sundry. The court also issued orders to abolish the exemption being given to certain housing societies and treat them equally.

During the course of hearing, the CJ remarked that it was the paramount obligation of the state under article 9 of the Constitution to provide basic necessities of life to people and electricity was one of important elements of life.

The court allowed a plea to make distribution companies necessary parties and sought replies from them.

The CJ remarked that people were facing 18-hours of loadshedding in cities whereas the situation was even worse in rural areas where people hardly had any power.

Judicial Activism Panel chairman Advocate Azhar Siddique filed the petition and submitted that Punjab was being subjected to discrimination and given less electricity share. In other provinces, electricity theft was at a large scale and bill recovery at its lowest, yet Punjab was being victimised in the electricity load management plan. He pointed out that power production was being effected due to non recovery of bills from other provinces.

Azhar said all government hospitals were exempted from loadshedding but during the last month, three patients had died due to loadshedding at hospitals.

The petitioner pointed out that in the case of the Neelum-Jhelum Project pending before the high court, the government had taken a plea that the no work was being done on the this project; while more than Rs26 billion had been collected from the public through surcharge in electricity bills, he added. The CJ adjourned further hearing till September 12.

The court has already directed the federal government and the Pakistan Electric Power Company (Pepco) to carry out equitable electricity loadshedding across the country.

Advocate Siddique had presented a published statement of Public Accounts Committee chairman and MNA Nadeem Afzal Chan against unfair and unscheduled loadshedding. The lawyer quoted Chan who threatened that he would tender his resignation if loadshedding in his political constituency did not end like in the constituencies of Prime Minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf, Minister of Water and Power Ahmad Mukhtar and other ministers. The lawyer said that the statement of the MNA was enough to establish discrimination against Punjab.

The petitioner said that despite an announcement made by the minister of water and power, the citizens of Punjab were facing severe loadshedding not only during Sehr and Iftar timings but all day long. He said this was against the principles of promissory and a fraud with the citizens of Punjab. He argued that failure to supply electricity in Ramazan violated fundamental rights as envisaged in the Constitution of Pakistan, especially under Article 9, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 19-A, 23, 24 and 25 of the Constitution.

The petitioner prayed that the federal government, Wapda, Pepco and distribution companies in Punjab should be restrained from observing loadshedding or load management during Sehr and Iftar and prayer timings.

Comments are closed.