Transfer of OGRA from Cabinet Division to Ministry of Petroleum and natural resources is illegal

(Maemuna Sadaf, Rawalpindi)

OGRA stands for Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority. OGRA is basically a regulatory authority for oil and gas, was made to safeguard public interest through efficient and effective regulation in the midstream and down stream petroleum sector. This authority was made under the Ordinance No XVII by President of Pakistan dated 28th March 2002. OGRA was made to foster competition, increase private investment and ownership in petroleum sector.
OGRA consist of the Chairman and three additional members out of whom one shall be designated as Member gas, one member as Member Oil and one member as Member finance. Any Cooperation or person interested in getting license for LPG and CNG activities may apply to the OGRA on prescribed format available on the website. For this purpose, OGRA has also set up a one window facility.

The transfer of OGRA from Cabinet Division to Ministry of Petroleum & Natural Resources by Federal Government is illegal / unlawful arbitrary due to following reasons:-
1. OGRA was established as per OGRA Ordinance 2002 to protect public interest while respecting individual e rights and to provide effective and efficient regulation, safeguard the public interest of all stake holders including consumers, Licensees and the Government. Due to conflict if interest between OGRA and Petroleum Ministry, OGRA was initially placed with Law Division to interact with Federal Government and did not place with M/O P & NR. Subsequently it was placed under the Cabinet Division.
2. The National Security council had decided on 11 October 2000 that Regulatory Authorities shall look into the inefficiencies and losses of public utilities before allowing an increase in tariff.
3. Federal Government violated the Honorable Supreme Court of Pakistan Judgment dated 21st December 2012 when it gave the directions and Policy Guidelines which were inconsistent with the OGRA Ordinance.
4. Federal Government violated the judgment of Supreme Court dated 10th December 2013 wherein it was directed Federal Government doest not have the powers to issue Policy Guidelines for increasing the losses benchmarks against consumer interest.
5. In a recent judgment and review decision of Supreme Court it was directed that the Prime Minister cannot take decisions where the Cabinet was competent.
6. Federal Government can take such decision of transfer of OGRA only after the amendments in OGRA Ordinance approved by the Parliament.
7. If any action taken by the Government in violation of law, it would amount to breach of Article 3, 4 and 5 (2) of constitution and would also constitute denial of Citizen’s fundamental rights guaranteed by Article 9, 14, 18, 23 and independent functioning of regulatory bodies and economic life of the nation and its citizens and such nexus was fully recognized by the legislature in its use of language employed by OGRA Ordinance.
8. Under section 24-A (1) of the General Clauses Acts, 1897 the Government is required to act fairly and its act and deeds should not be tainted with malice and ulterior motive. The relevant clause of the General clauses Acts is reproduced here: “Where, by or under any enactment, a power to make any order or give any direction is conferred on any authority, office or a person such power shall be exercised reasonably fairly, justly and for the advancement of the purposes of the enactment.”

In the interest of the country Government should with draw the said notification forth with, other wise the matter shall be landed in the superior courts where the Government shall face a lot of inconvenience and defeat.

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