High court puts govt on notice over orders to close CNG stations.

PESHAWAR -- The Peshawar High Court on Friday issued notices to the Sui Northern Gas Pipelines Limited (SNGPL) and provincial government seeking their response to the orders of Peshawar and Charsadda administrations for the closure of CNG stations in the two districts until Jan 31.

Justice Sahibzada Asadullah of a single-member bench admitted to full hearing the joint petition of the Bluetech Filling Station Peshawar and Parang CNG Station Charsadda and fixed proceedings for Jan 10.

The petitioners requested the court to declare illegal the notifications issued by deputy commissioners of Peshawar and Charsadda on Dec 31, 2022, through which a 'complete ban' was imposed on the functioning of CNG stations in the two districts from Jan 1 to Jan 31 under Section 144 of the Code of Criminal Procedure.

They also sought the suspension of action on the impugned notifications an interim relief until the disposal of the petition.

Petitioners insist DCs not authorised to place such restriction

The petitioners requested the court to declare that the respondents, including the deputy commissioners, have no right and authority to order closure of filling stations or curtail supply of natural gas to them and that the petitioners should be allowed to carry out their businesses smoothly.

Respondents in the petition are the provincial government through its chief secretary, SNGPL headquarters through its managing director, SNGPL KP's general manager, Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (Ogra) through its director general, and deputy commissioners of Peshawar and Charsadda districts.

A similar restriction has been in place in most districts of the province.

Advocates Abdul Rahim Khan Jadoon and Bilal Khan Tangi appeared for the petitioners and contended that the deputy commissioners of different districts had issued almost identical orders last year declaring that the district administrations had no authority under Section 144 of the CrPC to close CNG stations.

They contended that Article 158 of the Constitution...

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