KARACHI: The Supreme Court on Wednesday directed K-Electric to restore electricity supply to the head office of the Karachi Metropolitan Corporation and its parks.
A three-judge bench headed by Justice Maqbool Baqar restrained the power utility from disconnecting the power supply of the KMC till July 24 and also directed the officials of provincial and local governments to come up with a plan to pay the outstanding dues to the KE on the next date of hearing.
The bench issued these directives in a petition of the KMC, which approached the apex court with a plea to restrain KE from disconnecting the power supply of its offices over non-payment of dues after the Sindh High Court had dismissed an identical plea of the city’s municipal administration.
The SHC extends pre-arrest bail of suspects in ‘Roshan Sindh’ probe
When the matter came up for hearing before the bench at the Supreme Court’s Karachi Registry on Wednesday, the lawyer for the power utility submitted that the electric supply had been disconnected due to non-payment of dues as despite an earlier court order, the KMC had yet to pay the bills for the months of April and May.
Justice Sajjad Ali Shah, one of the members of the bench, asked why the KMC had not paid the electricity bills from April.
The lawyer for the KMC, Sameer Ghazanfar, submitted that the KMC was facing a shortage of funds of around Rs700 million and it requested the provincial government to provide a financial grant.
The KE counsel informed the bench that the electricity was also being provided to the houses of KMC employees located on the premises of parks under the same system.
Justice Shah asked why the KMC employees were not paying the electricity bills. The bench also issued directive for installation of sub-meters in the houses of KMC employees located in or around parks.
The lawyer for the KMC claimed that there were also around Rs1.7 billion outstanding dues of KMC, which had not been paid by KE yet.
The finance secretary informed the bench that the chief secretary had issued directives to address the issue of electricity dues in consultations with the KMC and a meeting about a proposed grant of Rs700m to KMC would be held on Friday (tomorrow).
The Metropolitan Commissioner, Dr Syed Saif-ur-Rehman, said that the KE disconnected the electricity of the KMC head office and around a dozen of its parks.
In April, the Supreme Court had asked the Sindh government to pay the outstanding electricity dues of the KMC to KE in five months in as many instalments and also directed the KMC to pay its electricity bills from April.
Earlier, the KMC had petitioned the SHC after the KE had disconnected power supply to one of its parks for non-payment of dues. However, the high court had dismissed the plea of the KMC in January and told it to pay the dues. Thereafter, the KMC approached the SC as it said that the power utility also disconnected power supply to its head office and other offices for non-payment of dues.
SHC summons NAB prosecutor general
The Sindh High Court on Wednesday directed the prosecutor general of National Accountability Bureau to appear on Aug 6 for arguments on a set of petitions challenging the transfer of an inquiry into Roshan Sindh project for installation of solar lights to NAB-Rawalpindi.
Khalil Asad, Agha Shahid Hussain, Azhar Qadir and others had moved the SHC seeking pre-arrest bail after NAB had initiated the inquiry. Later, the inquiry was transferred from Karachi to Rawalpindi and they challenged it.
When the petitions came up for hearing before a two-judge bench headed by Justice Mohammad Iqbal Kalhoro, the court asked about the prosecutor general of NAB as previously he was directed to argue about the transfer of the inquiry.
NAB’s special prosecutor Zahid Baladi informed the court that prosecutor general was available in court in the previous hearing, but the petitions had not been taken up due to want of time.
The bench again directed the prosecutor general to appear on Aug 6 and advance his arguments regarding transfer of the inquiry.
The court also extended the interim bail of the petitioners till the next hearing.
The counsel for petitioner argued that NAB had transferred the inquiry to the investigators of the fake bank accounts case and questioned the authority of the NAB chairman to transfer the probe.
NAB said that around Rs4bn Roshan Sindh project was initiated for installation of solar streetlights in the province but the complaints of large-scale corruption had been filed in the implementation of the project.
Published in Dawn, July 11th, 2019