SILCHAR ELECTRIC SUPPLY LTD. Vs. SECRETARY TO THE GOVT, OF ASSAM POWER (ELECTRICITY) MINES AND MINERALS DEPT. AND ORS.
LAWS(GAU)-1968-9-1
HIGH COURT OF GAUHATI
Decided on September 20,1968

Silchar Electric Supply Ltd. Appellant
VERSUS
Secretary To The Govt, Of Assam Power (Electricity) Mines And Minerals Dept. And Ors. Respondents

JUDGEMENT

M.C. Pathak, J. - (1.) BY this writ petition under Article 226 of the Constitution of India, the Petitioner has challenged the notice dated 16 -10 -67 to show cause against the revocation at the Silchar Electric Licence, 1928 and the order of revocation dated 26th March 1968 which was communicated by a telegram dated 26 -3 -1968. The show -cause notice is annexure II to the petition and the telegram conveying the Government's Order is annexure IV to the petition.
(2.) THE revocation order dated 26 -3 -1968 which was published in the Assam Gazette, Extraordinary, dated 27th March, 1968, is as follows: Government of Assam Orders by the Governor Power (Electricity), Mines and Minerals Department Notifications The 26th March 1968 No. PEL. 68/61/423. Whereas the Governor of Assam is of opinion that it is required in the public interest to revoke the license of the Silchar Supply Ltd. Now, therefore, in exercise of the powers conferred by Sub -section (1) of Section 4 of the Indian Electricity Act, 1910, the Governor of Assam after fulfilling the requirements as laid down in Sub -section (3) of the said section is pleased to revoke the Silchar Electric License, 1928 due to the following grounds: (1) failed for more than ten years to maintain adequate plant and machinery required for regular, constant and sufficient supply of electrical energy for all purposes; (2) failed for more than ten years to meet the demand for power in his licensed area; (3) failed to maintain stand -by generating sets to avoid hardship to the consumers as per terms of license; (4) failed to maintain continuous supply for 24 hours to all consumers as per terms of license; (5) failed to take speedily the bulk supply from the Assam State Electricity Board in spite of all helps offered by the Board, which could have eased the situation; (6) failed habitually to report the failure of supply: And whereas the prolonged defaults of the licensee in complying with the barest needs of the Silchar town indicate that the licensee is not able financially or otherwise, fully and efficiently to discharge the duties and obligations imposed on him by his license. T.S. Gill, Secy, to the Govt, of Assam, Power (Electricity) Mines and Minerals Department. In pursuance of the above order, another order Under Section 5(1) of the Indian Electricity Act, 1910, hereinafter called 'the Act' was passed by the Government on 26th March 1968; which is as follows: The 26th March 1968 No PEL. 68/61/424. - Whereas the Governor of Assam has been pleased to revoke the license of the Silchar Electric Supply Ltd., hereinafter referred to as the "Licensee", under Sub -section (1) of Section 4 of the Indian Electricity Act, 1910; Now. therefore, in pursuance of Sub -section (1) of Section 5 of tho aforementioned Act, the Governor of Assam is pleased to servo the notice of revocation upon the licensee fixing the 1st April, 1968 as the date on which the revocation shall take effect and that the licensee shall sell the undertaking to the Assam State Electricity Board who shall purchase the undertaking at the market value to be determined in accordance with Section 7A of the aforementioned Act. T.S. Gill Secy, to the Govt, of Assam, Power (Electricity), Mines and Minerals Deptt. This order was also published in the Assam Gazette, extraordinary dated 27th March, 1968. The said two orders which have been in fact challenged in this writ petition have not been made annexures to the petition, This may perhaps be due to the fact that the Petitioner obtained the rule on 29 -3 -1968 before it received the Gazette notification. Since the petition is mainly against these two orders, the Petitioner ought to have filed copies of the said two orders in Court subsequently even and it was not proper for the Petitioner to wait till the ate of hearing of the petition for production of the said two orders. It was also not proper for the Respondents in not annexing the copies of the said orders to their affidavit -in -opposition. Anyway at the time of hearing the rule, a copy of the Gazette Notification containing the above two orders was produced before us. The Petitioner Co. was granted by the Government of Assam "The Silchar Electric Licence, 1928" under the provisions of the Indian Electricity Act -1910 on terms and conditions mentioned in the said licence, a copy of which has been annexed as annexure I to the petition.
(3.) THE Petitioner's case in brief is that in accordance with the terms and conditions of the licence, it duly deposited the security money of Rs. 5000/ - within the time prescribed and at the initial stage installed, two generating sets of 128 K. W. only and after laying transmission, distribution, and service lines for supply of electrical energy within the licensed area, it started supplying electrical energy to the consumers in accordance with the directions of the authorities issued from time to time. During the course of the last 10 years, the Petitioner Co. installed three generating sets from time to time in order to cope with the sudden and unexpected increased demand for power due to the influx of refugees from East Pakistan in the town of Suchar. Out of the aforesaid three generating sets, one was 250 K. W. set in D. C. and the other two sets were in A. C. As the Assam State Electricity Board did not favour the extension of D. C. system, the Petitioner company made arrangement for the purchase of a third bigger A. C. generating set and approached the Government for the import of the said third set, but the Assam State Electricity Board did not recommend the import of the said set on the ground that power from Umium would be available in the Cachar area earlier than one year's time, and therefore the Petitioner Under those circumstances could not and did not take further steps for the purchase of any more sets. The Petitioner Co. as desired by the Assam State Electricity Board in their letter dated 12 -6 -64 submitted application dated 23 -6 -64 for obtaining bulk supply from the Assam State Electricity Board, but it did not get the first grid connection earlier than 15 -7 -67. That the Petitioner Company all along rendered prompt and efficient service to the consumers who in general were fully satisfied with the service of the company and it never failed to discharge its duties and obligations to the licensees. Thereafter the authorities of the State Government requested the Petitioner company to hand over the undertaking to the Government and a discussion in that regard was held at Silchar with the Minister in -charge of Industries, Power (Electricity, Act), Assam and during the course of the Said discussion, the Petitioner company agreed to hand over the undertaking to the Government on terms and conditions to be mutually agreed upon. The Petitioner company passed necessary resolution for handling over the undertaking and informed the Government about the said decision of the company on 5 -10 -67. Thereafter the Petitioner -company received on 20 -10 -67 the notice dated 16 -10 -67 issued by the Government, asking the Petitioner to show cause as to why the Electric Licence of the Petitioner company should not be revoked Under Section 4(1) of the Act. The show cause notice is annexure II to the petition which is in the following terms: Whereas in the opinion of the Governor of Assam the licensee, viz., the Silchar Electric Supply Limited has - (i) failed for more than ten years to maintain adequate plant and machinery required for regular, constant and sufficient supply of electrical energy for all purposes; (ii) failed for more than ten years to meet the demand for power in his licensed area; (iii) failed to maintain standby generating set to avoid hardship to consumers in case of breakdown; (iv) failed to maintain continuous supply for 24 hours to all consumers as per terms of license; (v) failed to take speedily the bulk supply from the Assam State Electricity Board in spite of all helps offered by the Board which could have eased the situation; (vi) failed habitually to report the failures of supply; And whereas the prolonged defaults of the licensee in complying with the barest needs of the Silchar town indicate that the licensee is not able financially or otherwise, fully and efficiently to discharge the duties and obligations imposed on him by his license; Now, therefore, in pursuance of Sub -section (3) of Section 4 of the Indian Electricity Act, 1910, the licensee is hereby called upon to show cause within 3 months from the date of issue of this notice, why his license should not be revoked under Sub -section (1) of Section 4 of the Indian Electricity Act, 1910.;


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