The Supreme Court’s verdict on Rental Power Projects (RPPs) has been challenged by the government.
The government justified the use of rental plants as a short-term measure, saying their induction would have helped in bridging the energy deficit as well as enabling public sector energy companies to close down their plants for maintenance and modernisation.
The federation, through the secretary of water and power as well as the private power and infrastructure board (PPIB) filed a review petition in the RPPs case, praying to review the March 30 judgment.
Faisal Saleh Hayat, federal minister for housing and works, PML-N MNA Khwaja Muhammad Asif and the National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (NEPRA) have been made respondents.
On March 30, the SC, while unplugging the RPPS, had declared the agreements between them and the Water and Power Development Authority (WAPDA), the ministry of finance, Pakistan Power Electric Power Company (PEPCO) and public sector power generation companies (GENCOs) were responsible for huge losses to the national exchequer.
The court had ruled that all the functionaries of PEPCO, GENCOs and NEPRA along with sponsors who derived financial benefits from the RPPs contracts are, prima facie, involved in corruption and corrupt practices and are therefore liable for both civil and criminal action.
The court ordered legal action against former ministers for water and power holding charge in 2006 onwards and 2008 onwards during whose tenure the projects were approved.
In the review petition however, the federation has stated that the court has not referred to the elaborate facts and figures placed on record. A reading of the factual position would show that the apex court has passed the decision on erroneous assumptions.
The federation contended the findings of the court that functionaries are prima facie involved in corruption and corrupt practice and said that this is not supported by any evidence or material submitted either by the petitioner, or by any other person and such observations undermine the fundamental rights of the functionaries, in particular Article 10-A of the Constitution.
The federation also contended that the court’s direction for taking criminal action is not in accordance with the principles of natural justice, nor in accordance with the letter and spirit of Article 10-A.
It further prayed that for the sake of national interest and to avoid multiple litigation in Pakistan and abroad, the court may consider as a way forward a process of contract reformation which may include the re-determination of NEPRA’s tarriff in the interests of consumers.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 26th, 2012.