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Govt to introduce bill proposing punishment for electricity theft

The government is set to introduce a bill in the Parliament for punishing those involved in electricity theft and inflicting damage to the Water and Power Development Authority’s belongings during power riots.

Under the terms set out in the proposed draft, those found guilty of electricity theft and of involvement in power riots could face seven years of imprisonment and a penalty of Rs10 million.

According to the Pakistan Penal Code of 1860 and the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1898, anyone found guilty by a Sessions Court of inflicting damage to electricity distribution lines and equipment will be liable to seven years of imprisonment with a fine of Rs3 million.

Meanwhile, the draft bill proposes that anyone found guilty of electricity theft for domestic purposes be jailed for six months and fined Rs1 million. However, the accused is not to be arrested without an arrest warrant.

The draft further suggests that those involved in electricity theft for commercial, industrial and agricultural purposes should be jailed for three years and be made to pay a fine of Rs6 million. In such cases, the accused would be arrested without a warrant and presented before a Sessions Court. Furthermore, damaging transmission lines will cost offenders three years imprisonment and a Rs10 million penalty. And those responsible for committing such crimes will be arrested without a warrant and will not be allowed bail as of right.

According to officials, almost 25 percent electricity is stolen every month, which inflicts a huge financial loss to the national exchequer. Moreover, they say, this further aggravates the woes of power consumers. The Ministry of Law has already approved the draft bill, which is likely to be presented before the Parliament.

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