Cuttack: The question of maintainability
of a PIL in Orissa High Court challenging the proposed power
tariff hike by Orissa Electricity Regulatory Commission (OERC)
would remain unanswered at least for a few more days as Chief
Justice V Gopala Gowda Wednesday recused himself from delivering
any judgement on the subject.
A division bench of the Chief Justice and Justice B N
Mohapatra had earlier heard the matter and reserved its
verdict. But without assigning any reason, the Chief Justice
today said: "The matter will be placed before another bench
for hearing on Thursday (tomorrow)".
This is perhaps for the first time in recent history
of Orissa High Court that a Chief Justice recused himself from
passing any judgement over a matter apprehending he may appear
biased or prejudiced.
Sources said by doing so, the Chief Justice has shown
high order of judicial propriety by recusing himself as he had
attended a conference of one of the petitioners Federation
of Consumers` Organisation.
It may be recalled here that OERC in March this year
had proposed power tariff hike for 2011-12 fiscal for both
domestic and commercial consumers which were slated to be
effective from April 1.
Several petitions were filed in the HC challenging the
OERC proposal following which the HC had imposed an interim
stay on collection of hiked tariff.
Subsequently, OERC in an affidavit had stated that the
High Court has no power to decide over the matter of tariff
hike proposed by the commission.