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Electricity Integral Part Of Right To Life; Duty Of Distributor To Provide Connection Within A Month Of Application: Kerala HC

first_imgNews UpdatesElectricity Integral Part Of Right To Life; Duty Of Distributor To Provide Connection Within A Month Of Application: Kerala HC Lydia Suzanne Thomas16 March 2021 1:59 AMShare This – x”To light up a tiny bulb in his tiny house Sainuddeen had to walk from pole to pole…”The Kerala High Court on Monday in an Order refused to give relief to two Kerala State Electricity Board employees who were found to have delayed on arranging an electricity connection to a person who had applied for the same. A single bench of Justice Murali Purushothaman declared, “Electricity is a basic amenity in life. Water and electricity are integral part of right to life…Your free access to Live Law has expiredTo read the article, get a premium account.Your Subscription Supports Independent JournalismSubscription starts from ₹ 599+GST (For 6 Months)View PlansPremium account gives you:Unlimited access to Live Law Archives, Weekly/Monthly Digest, Exclusive Notifications, Comments.Reading experience of Ad Free Version, Petition Copies, Judgement/Order Copies.Subscribe NowAlready a subscriber?LoginThe Kerala High Court on Monday in an Order refused to give relief to two Kerala State Electricity Board employees who were found to have delayed on arranging an electricity connection to a person who had applied for the same. A single bench of Justice Murali Purushothaman declared, “Electricity is a basic amenity in life. Water and electricity are integral part of right to life within the meaning of Article 21 of the Constitution of India.” Referring to Section 43 of the Electricity Act, 2003, the Court additionally stated that there is a statutory duty on the distribution licensee to provide electric connection to the applicants within one month after receipt of the application requiring such supply. The Court’s observations came in response to a petition by two officers of the KSEB assailing the fines imposed on them by the Consumer Grievance Redressal Forum and the State Electricity Regulatory Commission for their delay in arranging electricity to the house of one Sainuddeen. In this respect, the Court rather poetically observed, “To light up a tiny bulb in his tiny house Sainuddeen had to walk from pole to pole. An order of the Consumer Grievance Redressal Forum (CGRF) in his favour could not dispel the darkness at his home and the State Electricity Regulatory Commission mulcted two officers of the Board for delay in giving electricity connection and thus these two officers are before this Court” The petitioners objected to Sainuddeen’s application at the first instance stating that his house was constructed without maintaining a minimum distance from the low tension (LT) line and that only after the line was shifted, the electric connection could be allowed. After Sainuddeen filed a complaint before the KSEB Consumer Grievance Redressal Forum (CGRF), the Commission directed the petitioners to shift the LT line within 21 days after collecting the estimated amount from Sainuddeen. Despite the deposit of the estimated amount, the petitioners made no attempt at arranging electricity. On representations being made to the State Electricity Regulatory Commission, the petitioners and the Assistant Engineer of the KSEB submitted that the consent of the owner of property adjacent to Sainuddeen’s house had to be obtained before the line could be shifted. After further proceedings, and a request to the Regulatory Commission by the petitioners seeking reconsideration of the CGRF order, the Regulatory Commission found that the non-compliance with the CGRF Order was wilful. Treating the same as non-compliance of the provisions of the Electricity Act, a penalty of Rs. 50,000 was imposed on the 1st petitioner and Rs.25,000/- on the 2nd petitioner under Section 142 of the Electricity Act. Further, the Commission rejected the petitioners’ contention that delay was due to non-production of consent letter from nearby property owner. Holding that these reasons had been wilfully withheld from the CGRF in the first instance, the Commission also pointed out that other easier technical alternatives had not been considered. In this light, the fines were imposed. Agreeing with these findings, the Court stated, “this Court agree with the finding of the Regulatory Commission in Ext. P18 order that the writ petitioners willfully did not inform CGRF that for shifting the line a stay wire has to be planted in the premises of the 4th respondent and they went back on the proposal submitted by them before CGRF. Ext.P4 order of CGRF has been flouted by the writ petitioners. This Court also agrees with the view of the Regulatory Commission that when easier technical alternatives… are available, such alternatives are to be resorted to.” On the role of the KSEB, the Court additionally underscored, “The 1st respondent Board is the sole distribution licensee for electricity within the State and therefore the Board and its officials shall make every endeavor to provide electricity supply to applicants without any delay.” After the Court was informed that arrangements for electricity to Sainuddeen’s house had been made, the petition was dismissed.Click here to download the judgmentNext Storylast_img read more

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