ISLAMABAD: Chief Justice (CJ) Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry said on Monday that the government’s writ could not be established without good governance, and illegal appointments and political compromises would never bring good governance.
“We are astonished that when people came out onto the roads, just one statement came from the prime minister and finished load shedding,” said Chaudhry, who was heading a two-member Supreme Court bench, also comprising Justice Khilji Arif Hussain, hearing a suo motu case and two identical petitions filed by Federal Housing Minister Faisal Saleh Hayat and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) MNA Khawaja Muhammad Asif against corruption in the award of contracts for Rental Power Projects (RPPs).
“If the government worked in accordance with law and honesty, all issues could be resolved,” the chief justice said, adding that if the government had any morality, it would have stepped down or started hiring honest people on key posts and started a new history of good governance.
The court also rejected a proposal to constitute a commission to identify dysfunctional RPPs. The chief justice said if the government could maintain its writ, it could get 100 percent electricity bills from the consumers. He questioned how load shedding was ended in a single day. At the onset of hearing, Khawaja Tariq Rahim, counsel for the Water and Power Ministry, told the court that all the RPPs were established in accordance with the National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (NEPRA) rules after approval from the cabinet.
He said advertisements were given not only in the national media but also in the international media for these RPPs. “The companies that did not produce anything were given permission and were given 14 percent mobilisation advance instead of 7 percent, and the cabinet was not consulted,” the court noted, adding that the machinery was not checked deliberately and advertisements were also not transparent. However, Rahim stated that these agreements were made with good intentions and the companies that failed to fulfil their commitments were penalised. The court noted that penalties were not enough and enquired why the people responsible for load shedding were not being prosecuted by the accountability bureau.
The counsel sated that Rs 70 billion were due from Water and Power Development Authority (WAPDA) consumers and cases were pending in court. The chief justice noted that the government should approach the Supreme Court and the court would order the disposal of such cases on a priority basis. He said if the government maintained its writ, such problems would never occur.The court said the government must rely on honest people and stop political transfers. – PT