The Senate Committee on Delegated Legislation was held on Wenesday. Chaired by Senator Ayesha Raza Farooq, the meeting was attended by Senator Mian Raza Rabbani, Senator Kalsoom Parveen, Senator Dr Asad Ashraf, Senator Rukhsana Zuberi, Senator Robina Khalid, Senator Hasil Khan Bizenjo, Senator Saleem Zia and senior officers of the National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (NEPRA) and Security Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP).
The meeting commenced with a briefing by NEPRA regarding compliance of proposed amendments in NEPRA (Market Operator, Registration, Standard and Procedure) Rules 2015. As recommended by the Committee, most recommended amendments were made. However regarding the recommendation that a specific time limit be provided to decide any disputes related to market operator and market participant, NEPRA proposed 90 days. The Committee rejected this suggestion because it felt that 90 days was too long a period for resolution of disputes and therefore a maximum period of 60 days was recommended.
While deliberating over issues pertaining to compliance of proposed amendments in Underwriter Rules 2015, the SECP informed the Committee that all suggested amendments were made, however, with regards to providing definition of ‘Public Interest’ in the Rules, it was stated that the term “Public Interest” has wide connotation and has been extensively explained and interpreted in superior courts judgements. Any attempt to define the term may narrow the scope of the term as it varies from case to case. Senator Raza Rabbani agreed and said that this is a much larger question and is something that must be decided by the Parliament. The Committee agreed with this and recommended that the term ‘Public Interest” must be defined by Parliament and reliance must be placed case to case by interpretation of court judgements.
While discussing the Bill on Delegated Legislation prepared by the Legislative Drafting Unit, the Committee recommended, as suggested by Senator Raza Rabbani, that the Bill must be simple, since it would create ease of passage in both Houses. It was further recommended that in the statutes that the government has been given power to formulate rules and regulations must be finalized within a period of three months as opposed to the six months proposed in the draft bill. It was further stated that once finalized, these rules must be laid before both Houses. The Committee recommended that the 2nd draft of the bill with all recommended changes be presented in the next meeting.
The Committee lauded the efforts of the Legislative Drafting Unit for their efforts while reviewing acts that were devised between the years 2015 to 2018. The Committee was informed that 61 acts were formulated out of which 45 acts lack subordinate legislation. The Committee recommended that letters should be written to relevant Ministries and Departments to formulate subordinate legislation within 45 days. It was further suggested that an interim report must be prepared and placed before the Parliament.