PESHAWAR, March 7: A Peshawar High Court bench on Thursday stopped the prime minister and other federal government authorities from replacing the chief executive of the Peshawar Electric Supply Company Limited (Pesco).

Also, Chief Justice Dost Mohammad Khan and Justice Irshad Qaiser, who formed the bench, issued notices to the federal government, establishment and cabinet divisions, Pesco, National Electric Power Regulatory Authority and water and power secretary for filing written replies in the case regarding the possible replacement of the Pesco chief executive and adjourned the hearing until March 14.

The deputy attorney general was asked to procure comments from the respondents.

The petitioner, Pesco Board of Directors Chairman Hassamuddin Bangash, said the prime minister or any other authority functioning under him had no authority to remove the chief executive, Brigadier Tariq Sadozai.

His lawyer, Shumail Ahmad Butt, said his client had learned that a summary had been moved to the prime minister for removal of the chief executive without the consent and approval of the board of directors.

He said the prime minister had been taking the decision in abnormal circumstances when only a few days were left for completion of the government and the Election Commission of Pakistan had placed ban on such like appointments.

Mr Butt contended that the appointment and removal of a chief executive of a company was given in sections 199 and 202 of the Companies Ordinance 1984 and a clear procedure was laid down for appointment and removal, which could only be carried out through resolution of the board of directors.

He said under Article 199 of the Constitution, any functionary of state including the prime minister could be restrained from an act expressly or impliedly prohibited to do like in the present case when no authority whatsoever was available with the prime minister due to the statutory provisions regulating appointment and removal of the chief executive.

Also in the day, the bench extended a stay order issued by it for stopping Pesco from recovering the fuel adjustment charge/fuel price adjustment or any arrear on that account from the electricity consumers in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in the monthly electricity bills.

It directed Nepra’s lawyer Habib Qureshi to positively furnish written reply including details of all the power distribution companies, and adjourned hearing to Apr 10 in around 80 petitions. The petitioners including several industrial units and other entities have challenged the levy of the said controversial taxes in the electricity bills of consumers of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

When the bench took up for hearing these petitions it was almost 3:00 pm, therefore, it was decided to adjourn the hearing as these petitions were of immense importance and required details hearing.

Abdur Rauf Rohaila, lawyer for Pesco, contended that the stay order was issued in Feb 2012 by the court following which amount to the tune of billions of rupees had accumulated against the industrial units in this province. He questioned that if in case in future these petitions were dismissed from where these industrial units would manage to pay such hefty amount. He requested the bench to decide the issue at the earliest.

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