Lahore High Court (LHC) Chief Justice Umar Ata Bandial on Friday gave the federal government till August 7 to justify its decision to transfer Lahore Electric Supply Company (LESCO) Chief Executive Officer Muhammad Saleem.
The chief justice also directed the federal government to implement earlier court orders. It also ordered the federal government to submit policy guidelines for distribution companies to improve the power distribution system.
Ministry of Water and Power Secretary Tanvir Hussain Bukhari appeared before the court to explain the transfer of the CEO.
He said there had been complaints against the officer. However, he failed to produce particulars of the complaints and sought time to place the material on record.
Earlier, Muhammad Azhar Siddqiue, the counsel for Judicial Activism Panel, informed the court about the principles laid down in Syed Mahmood Akthar Naqvi and Others Versus the Federation of Pakistan case which state that a summary removal from office was not justified except on compelling grounds.
The court noted that a government servant had a right to be treated in accordance with law because arbitrary treatment demoralised the service cadre.
“Institutions can only prosper and deliver with secure personnel and management,” Justice Bandial said.”The concentration of managerial authority in a single individual or small cell at the top of the hierarchy remote from the field can lead to adverse results.”
He said it was important that the federal government followed the principles laid down in Public Sector Companies (Corporate Governance) Rules, 2013. The CJ directed the ministry to file a report at the next hearing.
The petitioner’s counsel had earlier submitted that Muhammad Saleem, former chief of LESCO, was transferred for saving 17 megawatt electricity by bringing down its theft. He said such decisions discouraged honest officers. The petitioner had also moved an application against load shedding during Sehri and Iftar.
Siddique told the court that the government had not taken any measures to provide relief to citizens.
The petitioner said that following the intervention of the LHC, load shedding had been eased for a while, but had increased to 12 to 16 hours soon after. He requested the court to issue orders to National Transmission and Dispatch Company (NTDC) and Central Power Purchasing Agency (CPPA) and other respondents to end load shedding.
The counsel for the Ministry of Water and Power told the court that the government had planned uninterrupted supply of electricity during Sehr, Iftar and Taravih.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 27th, 2013.