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Home News Power Sector News Government cant meddle with DERC - Delhi High court

Government cant meddle with DERC - Delhi High court

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Delhi HCRemoving all political pressure from the Delhi Electricity Regulatory Commission (DERC), the Delhi High Court on 18-02-2011 said the government had no business interfering with the functioning of the power tariff regulator and it cannot issue any "directive" to the Commission. In its order, a division bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justice Manmohan "quashed" the letter sent by the Delhi government to the DERC in May last year, saying handing out instructions to the Commission was beyond the scope of the government's powers under the law.

"The communication made by (Delhi) the government is absolutely unjustified, unwarranted and untenable and, accordingly, the same stands quashed," noted the court. It was referring to the letter asking the DERC to fall in line with the National Tariff Policy and not issue any tariff order for 2010-2011 till then.

The bench came down heavily on the part that stated: "The government further directs under Section 108 of the Electricity Act, 2003, that the DERC will not issue the tariff order till the statutory advice given by the Commission as asked for, is thoroughly examined by the government and the government gives a go-ahead for passing of tariff orders."

Dismissing the government's contention that the communication was in the form of an advice given in public interest, the bench called it "unfortunate" that the government prevented the Commission from exercising its statutory powers.

"On a close scrutiny of the aforesaid directions, it is clear as a noon day that there has been an order of prohibition to the Commission not to pass the tariff order. The government counsel would contend that it was issued keeping in view the public interest. The same is not discernible. It was an unwarranted interdiction," said the bench.

The bench also lent credence to the legal advice tendered by Attorney General G E Vahanvati on the issue, affirming that the Delhi government could only issue guidelines, relating to a larger public interest, but could not command the Commission to not issue a tariff order.

For deciding other issues in the petition, the court has now posted the matter for February 23. The court is hearing a PIL seeking court orders to the government and the DERC to make public the tariff order prepared in 2010.

Source - Indian Express


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