LAHORE – The Lahore High Court (LHC) on Tuesday summoned the Gujranwala Electricity Supply Company (Gepco) chief executive officer on a contempt of court petition filed by two suspended sub-divisional officers (SDOs).

SDOs Muhammad Iqbal Butt and Zulfiqar Ali Joeya submitted the CEO had suspended them on Nov 3, 2011 on charges of professional misconduct. At the time of their suspension they were in custody of Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) in connection with another case, the pointed out.

They contended they had challenged their suspension before the high court and the court had directed the respondent to decide their representation within 15 days. But, over two months had been passed and the respondent failed to decide their representation, the petitioners added.

Justice Khalid Mahmood Khan heard preliminary arguments and deferred hearing until December 21 seeking personal appearance of Gepco CEO Mahboob Alam.

Fuel surcharge: The Lahore High Court on Tuesday reserved verdict on petitions challenging fuel adjustment surcharge incorporated into electricity bills by the Water and Power Ministry.

The petitioners said the federal government was collecting billions of rupees through fuel adjustment surcharges in electricity bills. They added that the public had already been paying various types of taxes in electricity bills and the surcharge added to their problems.

They pointed out that the court had declared unlawful the fuel adjustment surcharge to the extent of 350 units of electricity for domestic consumers.

They requested the court to declare the adjustment illegal and unlawful.

A federal government counsel told the court that the surcharge was not any tax but it had been added to the cost of electricity.

The counsel said the government was giving subsidy of Rs300 million on power. He said that any relief to the consumers could be given only under the law. At this, Justice Muhammad Khalid Mahmood Khan remarked that the state could not neglect its responsibilities under the Islamic laws and courts could interfere when the rights of public had been ignored. By giving the observations, the court reserved the verdict.

REPORT SOUGHT: The LHC directed the Punjab government to produce the inquiry report in deaths caused at Punjab Institute of Cardiology (PIC) because of alleged spurious drugs.

When Chief Justice Umar Ata Bandial resumed hearing, Punjab Additional Advocate General Ahmad Rauf informed the court that the judicial inquiry had been completed. He requested the court to allow more time to produce it before the court.

The court accepted his plea and put off hearing until January 29.

Advocate Azhar Siddique moved the petition and sought directions to the government avoiding further incidents like PIC spurious medicine’s reaction and subsequent deaths of patients.

EXTENDED: The LHC extended a stay order against alleged harassment to LPG distributors/dealers on part of the Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (Ogra). Justice Ijazul Ahsan resumed hearing of the case but the Ogra counsel sought adjournment and time to file reply to the petitions filed by the LPG distributors.

The judge allowed the request and postponed hearing until Jan 11 with extension in the stay order issued on previous hearing.