Another petition on the issue was filed by the Madras Bar Association (MBA).
When the matter was taken up for hearing, A Saravanan, counsel for Murali Babu, said that since a three-member committee constituted by the state government to select a candidate in November 2011could not discharge its duty, the state government should invoke Section 84(2) of the Electricity Act and request the high court to name a sitting or retired judge of the court to head the commission.
When the judges were inclined to stay the selection process, advocate-general Navaneethakrishnan said the government would not make any appointment to the commission without informing the court. Murali Babu's petitiowanted a direction to the chief secretary to ensure the appointment of the TNERC chairman within a reasonable time. The last chairman, Kapilan, demitted office on January 2 after his five-year term and since then the post has been vacant.
According to Murali Babu, the committee ffailed to adhere to the three-month time limit laid down in Section 85(3) of the Electricity Act, 2003. As per the rule, the committee ought to have completed the selection process on February 28. "It is not clear what transpired at the meeting, but no one was selected, as seen from the lack of action for the two months since this meeting was held," Babu said.
Referring to power shortage in Tamil Nadu the PIL said: "Industrial and agricultural production have suffered grievously, leading to adverse impact on employment and wages of workers. The regulatory in power sector is headless."
The PIL said that in the event of inordinate and unexplained delay, the state government could invoke Section 84(2) of the Electricity Act, 2003 and appoint a chairperson from amongst persons who is, or has been, a judge of a high court.