Lahore High Court (LHC) Chief Justice Umar Ata Bandial on Friday directed power supply authorities and departments concerned to take steps for eradication of load shedding and equitable power distribution to all and also ordered to abolish exemption being given to certain housing societies and treat them equally.
The chief justice remarked that it was the paramount obligation of state under Article 9 of the constitution to provide basic necessities of life to people and electricity is one of the important elements of life. The chief justice was hearing a petition against electricity load shedding.
The chief justice remarked that the people at helm of affairs enjoy deep slumber instead of lessening people’s miseries. He also remarked that the federal government had miserably failed to fulfil its constitutional obligation regarding elimination of menace of load shedding.
The chief justice deplored that the NEPRA had evolved no mechanism for controlling or eliminating electricity theft and line losses. He also allowed the applicant to make distribution companies necessary parties in the case and sought replies from them.
The chief justice, hearing the petition of Judicial Activism Panel Chairman Muhammad Azhar Siddique against load shedding, remarked that if load shedding of 18 hours in a day was carried out in a city like Lahore, the citizens would have no reason to sit at homes silently.
The petitioner submitted that it was on record that a commitment had been made on behalf of the federal government by minister of power that no load shedding or load management would be observed during sehr and iftar and as well as prayer times. He said that it was not done and there was load shedding during iftar, sehar and prayers time.
He stated that it amounted to fraud with the citizens of Punjab because WAPDA, through its sister companies, was collecting electricity bills but was not paying the due amounts to the IPPs and to the companies which are providing furnaces oil to them. He said that Punjab is being discriminated against with regard to electricity load shedding.
The petitioner said in other provinces, electricity theft was happening at large scale and bill recovery there was low, even then Punjab was being victimised by large scale electricity load shedding, while power production was being effected due to non-recovery of bills from other provinces. He submitted that the resignation threat of Public Accounts Committee Chairman Nadeem Afzal Chann over discriminate load shedding in the province was a proof of discrimination with Punjab.
He submitted that the supply of electricity failure in Ramazan was a violation of the fundamental rights as envisaged in the constitution, especially articles 9, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 19-A, 23, 24 and 25.
He requested the court to issue a stay order against load shedding. He also requested to summon load management schedule across the country, especially of housing societies being exempted from load shedding.
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