LAHORE - It is a right of the public to know details of the money being collected from them by the government in the name of levies and surcharges, including fuel adjustment, equalization surcharge, Neelum Jhelum and others, the Lahore High Court observed here on Wednesday.
The court also expressed displeasure over the federal government for not submitting loadshedding schedule for VVIPs personalities and premises including the President, the Prime Minister, the Governors, Chief Ministers and Ministers.
Chief Justice Sheikh Azmat Saeed was hearing two identical petitions filed in public interest by Judicial Activism Panel (JAP). In first petition, JAP had requested to order federal government to make public details about cost of electricity production, and amount being collected from consumers in the name of fuel adjustment, EQ and Neelum-Jhelum surcharges and other levies. The court has also been requested to direct Nepra, Wapda, Pepco and Lesco to submit details in the court, revealing electricity production source (thermal, coal, gas, furnace oil, or solar).
As the proceedings started, Mr Siddque argued that people of Pakistan were facing gas as well as electricity crisis but were forced to pay utility bills as demanded by Sui Gas authorities and Wapda including surcharges of different types. The petitioner lawyer further sought production of financial statements showing profit and loss details as well as profit and loss account debit and credit entries and details of other expenses for disclosure to the public at large in view of Article 19-A of the Constitution. Quoting a news item, Mr Sidduqe pointed out the money being collected under the head of fuel adjustment and other surcharges was being paid to Rental Power Projects under the another head namely Capacity Payments, therefore, these surcharges could not be collected from the citizens.
When the CJ resumed hearing on second petition seeking electricity loadshedding schedule, he admonished a deputy attorney general and pointed out that the court had on Oct 4 last summoned the load schedule but the respondents failed to comply with the orders.
The CJ directed Wapda and all electricity distribution companies in Punjab to submit the schedule by Jan 19.