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Home News Power Sector News High court slams Delhi govt. for interfering in DERC matters

High court slams Delhi govt. for interfering in DERC matters

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Delhi HCThe Delhi high court on 08-03-2011, slammed the Delhi government for undermining a regulatory body like the Delhi Electricity Regulatory Commission (DERC) by preventing it from releasing a power tariff order that would have been lesser than the present one. The court said the government deserved to be fined heavily for the act that resulted in suffering to the common consumer and also wasted precious judicial time.

"While declaring your interdiction illegal, the court should have imposed a cost of Rs 10 lakh on the government. You give rise to the problem which also undermined authority of regulatory bodies," a bench headed by chief justice Dipak Misra said. "The files show you have messed up things. You interfered with the order and left poor consumers to suffer."

HC faulted the government for undermining DERC and trying to prevent it from doing its statutory duty as it reserved its orders on the PIL that accuses the government of succumbing to pressure from power discoms and "prohibiting the release of new tariff approved by DERC" on April 29, 2010. The court will now decide if at all there was any tariff order issued by DERC last year or a fresh exercise is required to be done. Last month the court had set aside the Delhi government's interdiction and held the government had no business interfering in the functioning of the DERC which is a statutory body. The court had, on February 18, quashed Delhi government directive to DERC that asked it to seek its approval before issuing the fresh power tariff for the capital calling it "illegal".

Filed by one Nand Kishore Garg, the PIL had accused the government of succumbing to pressure from power discoms and "prohibiting the release of new tariff approved by DERC" on April 29, 2010. It alleged that the DERC told the government that discoms were sitting on a combined cash profit of over Rs 300 crore per month and it was time to reduce the power rates.

"The communication made by the (Delhi) government is absolutely unjustified, unwarranted and untenable and, accordingly, the same stands quashed," the court had then noted slamming the state government for sending a communication to DERC. The government on its part had first argued it was simply an "advice" sent in public interest and later withdrawn the letter. In the last hearing, government counsel Najmi Waziri had denied the charges and said it only requested DERC to adhere to the national policy. He said the DERC was only told to consider "uncontrollable costs" like at which power was bought from other states in peak season needed to considered.

Meanwhile, another PIL came up for hearing before the bench in connection with the power tariff process. It has sought a direction to CAG to audit accounts of discoms and also asked for a CBI inquiry into why there was disagreement among members of DERC on the tariff order. The court will decide if the PIL needs to be admitted for hearing or not.

 

 

Source- Hindustan Times

 

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