Table of Contents
Overview of Article 157 of the Constitution of Pakistan
The Constitution of Pakistan, established in 1973, serves as the supreme law of the land, shaping the nation’s governance and legal framework. Within this constitutional tapestry, Article 157 stands as a pivotal provision, intricately detailing the roles, powers, and responsibilities concerning electricity generation and distribution between the Federal Government and Provincial Governments.
Article 157 States
- The Federal Government may in any Province construct or cause to be constructed hydro-electric or thermal power installations or grid stations for the generation of electricity and lay or cause to be laid inter-Provincial transmission lines:
- Provided that the Federal Government shall, prior to taking a decision to construct or cause to be constructed, hydro-electric power stations in any Province, shall consult the Provincial Government concerned.
- The Government of a Province may-
- to the extent electricity is supplied to that Province from the national grid, require supply to be made in bulk for transmission and distribution within the Province:
- levy tax on consumption of electricity within the Province;
- construct power houses and grid stations and lay transmission lines for use within the Province; and
- determine the tariff for distribution of electricity within the Province.
- In case of any dispute between the Federal Government and a Provincial Government in respect of any matter under this Article, any of the said Governments may move the Council of Common Interests for resolution of the dispute.
Key Points of Article 157 of the Constitution of Pakistan
- Federal Authority in Electricity Generation: Article 157 grants the Federal Government the authority to spearhead electricity projects, emphasizing the significance of a coordinated national approach to power generation.
- Provincial Autonomy in Electricity Management: Provincial Governments, as per this article, possess significant autonomy in managing electricity within their jurisdictions. They can demand bulk supply, impose consumption taxes, construct power facilities, lay transmission lines, and set tariffs for distribution within the province.
- Consultation Requirement: The provision emphasizes collaboration and consensus-building between the Federal and Provincial Governments. Prior consultation is mandatory before embarking on hydro-electric projects, reflecting the constitutional commitment to cooperative federalism.
- Dispute Resolution Mechanism: Article 157 introduces a dispute resolution mechanism, enabling either party to bring conflicts before the Council of Common Interests. This provision reflects the constitutional commitment to address disagreements through dialogue and consensus.
Crux of Article 157 of the Constitution of Pakistan
At its core, Article 157 encapsulates the delicate balance between federal and provincial powers in the realm of electricity generation and distribution. The Federal Government is endowed with the authority to undertake large-scale projects, recognizing the interconnected nature of the national power grid. Simultaneously, Provincial Governments retain crucial powers to manage and regulate electricity within their borders, reflecting the constitutional ethos of autonomy and decentralization.
Conclusion: Article 157 of the Constitution of Pakistan
In conclusion, Article 157 of the Constitution of Pakistan serves as a linchpin in the nation’s energy governance. It navigates the intricate relationship between federal and provincial entities, acknowledging the need for a collaborative approach to address the complexities of electricity generation and distribution. The provision embodies the spirit of cooperative federalism, promoting dialogue and consultation as the bedrock of effective governance in the energy sector.
As we delve into the constitutional landscape of Pakistan, the 1973 Constitution emerges not just as a legal document but as a dynamic framework that adapts to the evolving needs of the nation. Article 157, with its nuanced provisions, exemplifies the careful calibration of powers, fostering a harmonious balance that underpins the vitality of Pakistan’s energy infrastructure.