BALRAM SINGH THAKUR Vs. STATE OF CG
LAWS(CHH)-2005-9-15
HIGH COURT OF CHHATTISGARH
Decided on September 23,2005

Balram Singh Thakur Appellant
VERSUS
STATE OF CG Respondents

JUDGEMENT

- (1.) A .K. Patnaik, J.- 1. The petitioner No. 1 is a resident of Bilaspur and claims to be a public spirited person. He is also an elected Member of State Legislative Assembly from Takhatpur Constituency in district Bilaspur. The petitioners 2 and 3 are also residents of Bilaspur and also claim to be public spirited persons. They have stated in the writ petition that they are agriculturists but they are also associated in various social activities in the Bilaspur district and are concerned about the welfare of the society. The three petitioners have filed this PIL challenging the public notice in the news paper given by the Chhattisgarh State Electricity Board in Annexure-P/6 in which the consumers of electricity have been asked to disclose voluntarily their connected load and to pay additional security, failing which action will be taken against them including lodging of F.I.R.
(2.) MR . P. Diwaker, learned Sr. Advocate assisted by Mr. Sanjay K. Agrawal and Mr. Rajeev Shrivastava, learned Advocates submitted that The Electricity Act, 2003 (hereinafter referred to as "the Act, 2003") enacted by the Parliament has now come into force and under Section 47 of the said Act a consumer can be asked to deposit only reasonable security as may be determined by regulations made under the said Act for payment to the licensee of all monies which may become due from the consumer in respect of the electricity supplied to the consumer. He submitted that the regulations regarding security amount to be deposited by a consumer are yet to be finalized under the Act, 2003 and in fact the Chhattisgarh State Electricity Regulatory Commission has framed Chhattisgarh State Electricity Regulatory Commission (Security Deposit) Regulations, 2005, but the said regulations are in the draft stage. He vehemently submitted that until the said regulations are finalized and published, no security deposit can be demanded from the consumers. He further submitted that under Section 47 of the Act, 2003, the security deposit that can be asked from the consumer has to be commensurate with the money that become due from the consumer to the licensee; but under the impugned notice it appears that the Chhattisgarh State Electricity Board intends to collect security deposit on the basis of the connected load of the consumers. Learned counsel for the petitioners further submitted that there is no provision under the law for lodging FIR against the consumers. If they do not voluntarily disclose their connected load and pay additional security deposit as per the connected load and yet by the impugned notice, the Chhattisgarh State Electricity Board has threatened the consumers that FIR would be lodged against those consumers, who do not disclose voluntarily their connected load and pay additional security as per the connected load.
(3.) MR . M.L. Jaiswal, Sr. Advocate assisted by Mr. A.S. Gaharwar, Advocate for respondents 2 to 4/Chhattisgarh State Electricity Board, on the other hand, submitted that notwithstanding the enactment of the Act 2003 by the Parliament, the provisions with regard to the security deposit made by the Chhattisgarh State Electricity Board under the regulations made under the Electricity (Supply) Act, 1948 would govern till the regulations regarding security deposit are framed in accordance with Section 47 of the Act, 2003, by the Chhattisgarh State Electricity Regulatory Commission and this is because a vacuum with regard to the terms and conditions of supply of electricity including the security deposit was not intended by the Act, 2003, till the regulations are made in accordance with Section 47 of the Act, 2003. In this context, he referred to the provisions of Section 185 of the Act, 2003 to show that the said provisions while repealing the provisions inter alia the Electricity (Supply) Act, 1948 has provided in sub-Section (2) thereof that notwithstanding such repeal, anything done or any action taken or purported to have been done or taken including any rule, notification, inspection, order or notice made or any document or instrument executed or any direction given under the repealed laws shall be deemed to have been done or taken under the corresponding provisions of the Act, 2003. He referred to the provisions of Section 135 of the Act, 2003 to show that different acts amount to theft of electricity are offences punishable and submitted that FIR can be lodged by the licensee complaining of commission of offences by the consumers as indicated in Section 135 of the Act, 2003.;


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