Delhi govt has no jurisdiction on power tariff: Centre

Last Updated: Wednesday, December 1, 2010 - 19:37

New Delhi: The Centre today told the Delhi
High Court that the NCT government has no jurisdiction to
direct Delhi Electricity Regulatory Commission(DERC) to put on
hold its decision on power tariff for the year 2010-2011.

Following the previous order of the court, Attorney
General G E Vahanvati, appeared before a division bench of
Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justice Manmohan to assist the
Bench and submitted that "under the Delhi Electricity Act, the
state has no jurisdiction to pass such an order to the
statutory function of the Commission".

The Bench took note of the submission made by the senior
lawyer and fixed the PIL for further hearing on December 22.

The Bench was hearing a PIL seeking a direction to the
city government, which has allegedly succumbed to the pressure
of DISCOMS to hike tariff and asked DERC not to make public
its approved tariff for the current year, to vacate the stay
on the Commission`s approved tariff for the current year.

Earlier, raising a question whether the NCT government
has any power to issue a direction to any statutory commission
not to release its decision on tariff, the bench sought the
AG`s assistance.

According to Nand Kishore Garg, the petitioner, the
Commission has fixed the hike of tariff to 40 per cent basing
on the annual revenue return filed by the DISCOMS according to
which the companies have generated a surplus amount of Rs 3577

The Commission had approved the tariff for government to
issue for this year but on May 1 the DISCOMS made a
representation to the government seeking a hike of existing
tariff from 50 to 70 per cent, Garg said.

He further said the decision was taken by the
Commission but one of the three members was to sign on it in
April this year. However, before its release, the state
government intervened and stayed the approved tariff in May,
which was illegal and arbitrary.

As per the PIL, the government withheld the approved
tariff basing on the demand by DISCOMS for hike despite the
fact that power distributing companies have generated a huge
profit on an average of Rs 300 crore per month from consumers.

Later, DERC had sought legal opinion from the
Solicitor General of India who opined that the government`s
direction was not mandatory for the Commission as it is a
statutory body.

In the light of the legal opinion by the law officer,
the petition sought a court direction to vacate the stay on
the Commission`s decision.


First Published: Wednesday, December 1, 2010 - 19:37

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