Attorney General G.E. Vahanvati, appearing for the Centre told a three-Judge Bench of Chief Justice Altamas Kabir and Justices S.S. Nijjar and J. Chelameswar that as far as the power surrendered by the NCT Delhi was concerned, in 2011 the Centre had tried to allocate Tamil Nadu additional power. For this year, he said, according to the Union Power Ministry every grid had certain capacity. The southern grid did not have the capacity to receive the available surplus power.
Mr. Vahanvati said, "The Tamil Nadu government had not strengthened enough the grid and the State itself is responsible for the power crisis. Eight States are demanding a share in the surrendered power and we will distribute it in a manner that each grid can withstand."
Senior counsel Mukul Rohatgi, senior counsel Ranjit Kumar and Additional Advocate General Subramonium Prasad wanted the court to issue a direction to the Centre to keep aside the surrendered power, as otherwise the whole suit filed by Tamil Nadu would become infructuous.
The AG replied that the surplus power could not be stored.
CJI told counsel for Tamil Nadu, "We are not experts in deciding the matter. We need technical details from an expert body."
In a brief order, the Bench said, "Issue notice. On behalf of the Union of India, there are certain difficulties expressed in providing power straightway. With regard to the capacity of the southern grid to take the load of excess power to be provided to Tamil Nadu, the Attorney General is requested to file an affidavit indicating the reasons for which the prayer of Tamil Nadu cannot be considered to a certain extent."
In the meantime, the Bench said since it concerned technical position, the Central Electricity Authority should examine and submit a report to the court. The Bench directed the matter to be listed for further hearing on November 29.
In its application filed in the suit, Tamil Nadu sought a direction to restrain the Centre from re-allocating the entire power surrendered by the National Capital Territory (NCT) of Delhi, viz 230 MW of round-the-clock power and 1491 MW power (available between midnight and 6 am) to any other State.
The State said, "It is the right of Tamil Nadu to demand for the surrendered power to meet the extreme power shortage faced by the State. Only the Union of India is empowered to reallocate the surrendered power along with the transmission corridor which it has failed to do so."
It further said, "In the year 2012-13, due to the failure of South-West monsoon the State is facing acute shortage of power. The people of Tamil Nadu are reeling under massive power cuts, going up to 12 hours every day.
It said, "Tamil Nadu apprehends that the Central government will re-allocate the surrendered power to the other States, which are not as stressed as Tamil Nadu is, and thereby deprive the State of Tamil Nadu of its justified demand of re-allocation of the entire power surrendered by the NCT of Delhi."