LHC verdict caused Rs40b loss, LESCO tells SC

Top court adjourns cases pertaining to fuel price adjustments in electricity bills

FULL COURT TO RESUME HEARING ON SC PRACTICE LAW TODAY.

 

ISLAMABAD  -  The Supreme Court’s Full Court will today resume hear­ing of the petitions against the Supreme Court (Practice and Procedure) Act 2023.

After the retirement of ex-CJP Umar Ata Bandial, a 15-member bench, headed by Chief Justice Qazi Faez Isa, on September 18 had heard the case and was shown live for the first time. CJP Faez stat­ed that the Practice and Pro­cedure Act 2023, which was passed by the parliament, did not take away the chief judge’s authority by giving it to a three-person committee.

Though the bench did not vacate the stay against the Act, but the same day in the late evening Justice Faez in consul­tation with the senior puisne judges Justice Sardar Tariq Masood and Justice Ijazul Ah­san had constituted the bench, which is a requirement under Section 2 of the Act. Section 2 (1) says; “Every cause, ap­peal or matter before the Su­preme Court shall be heard and disposed of by a Bench constituted by the Commit­tee comprising the Chief Jus­tice of Pakistan and two next most senior Judges, in order of seniority.” An eight-mem­ber bench on April 13 had de­clared; “The moment the Bill, 2023 receives the assent of the President or it is deemed that such assent has been giv­en, then from that very mo­ment onwards and till further orders, the Act that comes into being shall not have, take or be given any effect nor be acted upon in any manner.”

The court directed the par­ties’ lawyers to submit their written arguments by Septem­ber 25.

Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PML-Q) in its concise re­quested the apex court to dis­miss the petitions against the Supreme Court (Practice and Procedure) Act, 2023, as it is constitutional and will only serve to promote the ‘Indepen­dence of the Judiciary’, ‘the Rule of Law’, the ‘Right to Access of Justice and Fair Trial’ as guar­anteed under the Constitution.

It submitted that the Par­liament has the right to enact the subject legislation and has done so strictly in accordance with the law and the Constitu­tion. PML-Q contended if the discretion for the exercise of suo motu jurisdiction, the re­sponsibility of allocating work and constitution of benches is shared by the Chief Justice with the two of the senior most judges of the Supreme Court, it will boost the public confi­dence in the judiciary and fur­ther strengthen the ‘Indepen­dence of the Judiciary’.

‘FUEL PRICE ADJUSTMENTS IN ELECTRICITY BILLS’

The Supreme Court on Mon­day adjourned hearing till Oc­tober 16, in petitions pertain­ing to the addition of fuel price and quarterly adjustments in the electricity bills. 

A three-member bench, head­ed by Chief Justice of Pakistan Qazi Faez Isa, heard the case. The court said that it wouldn’t allow the facility of video link to anyone in the next hearing and all the respondents had to come to SC for arguments. The CJP said that firstly the court would decide the maintainabil­ity of the appeals after hearing arguments on legal points in the next hearing. 

At the outset of hearing, Law­yer Khawaja Tariq Rahim ad­opted the stance that some lawyers had received court notices and several didn’t. He said that he had to appear be­fore a full court bench Tuesday and prayed the court to grant time in this case. 

Additional Attorney General Aamer Rehman also prayed the court to grant some time and said that the Attorney General of Pakistan wanted to give ar­guments by himself in this case. 

The counsel for Lahore Electricity Supply Company (LESCO) requested the bench to suspend the verdict of La­hore High Court (LHC). The Additional Attorney Gener­al said that the decision of LHC had caused a loss worth Rs 40 billion to the nation­al exchequer. The chief jus­tice enquired whether any­body had filed an intra-court appeal against the verdict of LHC. Khawaja Tariq Rahim argued that these appeals were non-maintainable as no ICA had been moved in LHC.

The court, however, said that it wouldn’t accept the request by anybody on the next hear­ing for adjournment. If some­one couldn’t appear, then he had to send an alternative law­yer, it added. The CJP said that the court was also serving no­tice to the Attorney General of Pakistan as the cases were re­lated to federal laws. 

It may be mentioned that the LHC had declared the fuel price adjustment in electricity bill as illegal. More than one thou­sand petitioners had moved the cases to LHC. However, the electricity transmission com­panies had challenged the ver­dict of LHC before the apex court

‘SC Issues written order on hearing in Faizabad sit-in re­view petitions’

The Supreme Court (SC) on Monday issued a written or­der pertaining to the hearing of September 28, in Faizabad sit-in review petitions. 

In a four-page order, the court said that the respondents had been given one more opportu­nity to present the facts of the matter. The respondents could file the facts in written form, through affidavits, till October 27, it said. It said that the At­torney General of Pakistan had stated that the defence minis­try didn’t want to pursue the review petition. 

The Intelligence Bureau (IB), Pakistan Electronic Media Reg­ulatory Authority (PEMRA) and Pakistan Tehreek e Insaf (PTI) had also filed miscella­neous applications to with­draw the review petitions. 

It said that petitioner Sheikh Rasheed Ahmed had sought time to hire a new lawyer in his case. The order further said that four questions had been raised during the last hearing in the case.