PESHAWAR: The federal government on Tuesday confirmed that National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (Nepra)’s administrative control will be transferred from the cabinet division to the Ministry of Water and Power, without affecting its autonomy.
The federal government also questioned maintainability of the writ and prayed the bench to dismiss it. It also prayed to set aside the previous order through which PHC suspended the notification.
In its reply, submitted by Deputy Attorney General Musarratullah, before a division bench headed by Chief Justice PHC Yahya Afridi, the government dismissed claim of the petitioner that the independent status of the five regulating bodies have been compromised or made subservient due to its transfer to the line ministry.
Naming the regulatory bodies, the government said that Private Educational Regulatory Authority under Capital Administration development Division, State Bank of Pakistan, Securities Exchange Commission of Pakistan under Finance Division, Pakistan Medication and Dental Council, Pakistan Nursing Council and Drug Regulatory Authority are working under National Health Services and Coordination Division.
Similarly, Pakistan Standard and Quality Control Authority is under Science and Technology Division while Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority has been transferred to Information and Broadcasting Division.
The government adopted the stance that Nepra’s transfer was purely a matter of distribution of work amongst divisions through modification in schedule-II, within the ambit of prime minister to transfer it.
“Nepra was established under Ministry of Water and Power where it remained under Law and Justice Division; from there it was placed under the Cabinet Division,” the federal government said.
The government claimed that matters of Council of Common Interests are processed and settled by the Inter Provincial Coordination Division, it is, therefore, for the division to confirm the position.
It said that the transfer of regulatory authorities was in accordance with the provision of Rules of Business 1973 and it was prime minister’s prerogative to transfer them from one division to another.
The PHC was told that chairman and members of Nepra have been given certain safeguards to ensure their autonomy and independence in terms of Nepra Act 1997.
Dismissing apprehension of the petitioner, the government explained that administrative control meant function of federal government regarding the authorities.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 15th, 2017.