The National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (Nepra) top brass has been served contempt notices over disobedience to Islamabad district judge’s stay order as the people at the helm of affairs terminated services of one of the employees even the court has directed them to restrain from passing any adverse order against the remedy seeker.
An employee of the Nepra Maria Rafique has invoked jurisdiction of the district court, saying she is a graduate of Cornell Law School and has previously worked as energy sector lawyer in UAE and also in Pakistan as an advocate high court. She made Nepra Chairman Tauseef H Farooqi, Vice Chairman Nepra Rafiq Ahmad Shaikh, Members Nepra including Maqsood Anwar Khan and Rehmatullah Baloch and Registrar Nepra Syed Safeer Hussain as respondents in her petition.
Advocate High Court Umer Gilani appeared on behalf of Maria Rafique before the court and submitted that during 2020, because of his client’s rare expertise and skill set, the Nepra hired her services as legal advisor on a two years contract, saying she has been informed that the authority has decided to terminate her services illegally.
He urged the court to grant a stay order till final adjudication of the matter with directives to the Nepra to keep restrained from terminating her services as she developed a legitimate expectation that she would be allowed to complete the contract period and would not be terminated without hearing.
After accepting the stay application a week ago, District Judge Islamabad Abida Sajjad granted stay order in the matter as the court passed an order (a copy of which is available with TLTP) saying, “Since the appellant has agitated violation of her fundamental right that no due process of law is observed, therefore, she has prima face case for grant [of] ad-interim injunction in her favor. Hence, appeal is admitted for regular hearing and the respondents are restrained to pass any adverse action against the appellant without observing any due process of law.”
As the court was pleased to grant a stay order restraining Nepra from terminating Maria Rafique without at least providing her reasons and an opportunity of hearing but the respondents failed to observed the court orders.
Gilani filed contempt of court application before District Judge Islamabad Abida Sajjad and submitted that the stay order was duly served upon the accused Nepra chair and his representatives. However, in contemptuous defiance of the said order, a termination notice was sent by email to the applicant at 10:30pm on the night of December 02 at the day when the stay order was granted in the matter.
Counsel for the applicant Umer Ijaz Gilani argued on Wednesday that because of the respondents’ defiance of court orders, his client’s fundamental right to hearing has been frustrated saying basic remedy which his client was seeking a pre-termination opportunity of hearing has been stolen from her, as a result of which her entire litigation has become futile and infraction. “This has not only adversely affected the applicant but has also lowered the esteem of the honorable court in the eyes of the general public”, Gilani argued.
Representing the Nepra, Advocate Qaisar Imam appeared before the court, however, after hearing preliminary arguments of both the parties in the case the Court was pleased to issue pre-admission notices for contempt of court to chairman Nepra and members.
Later, hearing of the matter was adjourned till January 04, 2022.
The writer heads a leading news wire service ‘The Law Today Pakistan’ commonly known as TLTP. He has a special focus on news relating to superior courts adjudication, access to right of information, civil, political, social and economic rights under the approach that existing cyber regime realization ensures procedural fairness in administrative law. He can be reached at email@example.com