ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court has been urged to declare the Private Power and Infrastructure Board (Amendment) Act, 2023, repugnant to the constitution; hence quashed as void abinitio.
Saeeda Begum, on Wednesday, filed a petition under Article 184(3) of the constitution and cited the federation through the secretary Establishment, the federal government through secretary Ministry of Energy, chairman National Energy Power Regulatory Authority (Nepra), MD Private Power and Infrastructure Board, and secretary Ministry of Defence as respondents.
She also prayed that the management and provision of electricity be declared the function of provinces in the wake of the 18th Amendment, which maintains the provincial autonomy, as a consequence Private Power and Infrastructure Board may kindly declared dissolved.
The petitioner further requested the Court to order that all the taxes, charges, cesses be paid in Pak rupee and the cost of electricity also be paid in Pak rupee. The levy of taxes on the general masses should be set aside and taxes be recovered from the IPPs.
The respondents should also be directed not to use the obsolete devices and replace them with inverter technology, and the grant of free units of electricity and petrol/ diesel to the parliamentarians, executive, members of the judiciary and employees of the electricity department be withdrawn being unjust and discriminatory.
The plea said that Pakistan ceased to exist as a welfare state, rather was turned into a commercial entity by the introduction of Independent Power Producers vide The Act, 1995, which was further repealed in 2010. The Framework Work Policy directly links the mode of payment in US currency and links the same with IMF policy.
The petitioner submitted that the Framework of Power Supply emphasises and focuses the trade in terms of US currency, which is entirely a commercial document and legislation has failed to protect the rights of the citizens of Pakistan.
She stated that the final nail in the coffin of Pakistani nation was the introduction of the Private Power Sector and Infrastructure Board (Amendment) 2023 assented on 31st May 2023 by the president of Pakistan.
After the introduction of the said amendment, the prices were escalated and to overcome the deficiencies, taxes, more taxes, and further taxes were introduced in the electricity bills. The political leadership has failed to protect the rights of the public at large.
The petitioner maintained that the Private Power and Infrastructure Board (Amendment) 2023 and The Act, 2015 are in derogation of fundamental rights. It is just a creation of an East India Company, where the fundamental rights are compromised.
She emphasized that after the 18th Amendment, the provision of amenities to the general public stand transferred to the provinces; therefore, the framework and introduction of IPPs stand redundant in the light of the amendment. The fundamental rights of the citizen are controlled by the authority (the Nepra), which has no direct nexus with the public at large, whereas, the provincial government is responsible for the provision of amenities, distribution, and its control.
The federal government before departing has introduced a new legislation where the Private Power Board has been granted exemption in paying taxes.
Saeeda Begum said the authorities must be held responsible for the line losses and theft. It is very strange that electricity stolen in connivance with authority is recovered from the public as a cost of electricity, said the petitioner.
Copyright Business Recorder, 2023