Mumbai: Spiritual organisations which are service oriented will be placed in a special category of `public services` and can avail subsidy in electricity tariff, the Bombay High Court has ruled.
The Maharashtra Electricity Regulatory Commission (MERC) and Maharashtra State Electricity Distribution Company (MSEDC) have been directed to classify spiritual organisations which are service oriented in a special category with hospitals and educational institutions as `public services`.
The order was passed recently by a division bench of Chief Justice Mohit Shah and Justice Anoop Mohta while hearing a petition filed by Osho International Foundation challenging electricity bills issued to them on commercial tariff rates.
The Foundation approached the court challenging electricity bills issued to it for the months August, September and October last year on commercial tariff. According to Osho, it falls under the newly introduced special category of "HT IX-Public Services" and hence will pay bills as per the subsidised tariff.
"In October 2011, MERC passed an order classifying charitable trusts running educational institutions and hospitals in a special category for which tariff rates are well below the commercial category rates," the petition states.
Accepting the petition, the High Court said, "The respondents (MERC and MSEDC) are directed to include spiritual organisations which are service oriented as falling within the definition of the newly created category `HT IX - Public Services`."
According to Osho Foundation, it falls under the category of public services as it imparts education in yoga and meditation and operated on a no-profit-no-loss basis with no commercial activity.