The Supreme Court has sought responses from three private power distribution companies on petitions filed by various bodies including the Delhi government challenging a High Court order that these discoms cannot be audited by the Comptroller and Auditor General(CAG) of India.
A bench headed by Justice J Chelamswar asked the three discoms -- Tata Power Delhi Distribution Ltd (TPDDL), BSES Rajdhani Power Ltd and BSES Yamuna Power Ltd -- to file their responses within four weeks and listed the matter for final hearing on March 2.
The bench was hearing appeals filed by Delhi government, CAG and NGO United RWAs Joint Action (URJA) against the Delhi High Court's decision that these discoms cannot be audited by the CAG as they are already under the jurisdictional authority of Delhi Electricity Regulatory Commission (DERC).
The Delhi High Court in its verdict had quashed the AAP government's January 7, 2014 directive to carry out an audit of the three discoms by the CAG.
The city government had ordered the CAG audit of the three discoms which supply power in Delhi, on grounds including that it has 49% stake in the discoms.
The high court, in its October 30, 2015 order, had termed as "populist" the decision of AAP government to have CAG audit of TPDDL, BSES Rajdhani Power Ltd and BSES Yamuna Power Ltd.
There can be no other audit by CAG at the instance of the state government when regulatory body DERC is already there to audit the accounts of discoms, the high court had said.
"Such populist measures without considering the ultimate advantage thereof, not only end up being contrary to public interest but also put unnecessary burden on courts," it had said.
It had disagreed with government's contention that audit was ordered in public interest to determine the tariff, saying "determination of tariff is in sole domain of DERC which is well empowered to conduct the same or have the same conducted and CAG's audit report on discoms has no place in Regulatory Regime brought about by Electricity Act and the Reforms Act".
The discoms are 51:49% joint venture between the private companies and the Delhi government.