BSES (Y) POWER LTD Vs. NEERAJ KUMAR
DELHI STATE CONSUMER DISPUTES REDRESSAL COMMISSION
Bses (Y) Power Ltd
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(1.) WHILE disposing of a batch of large number of CM (M)/writ petitions bearing Nos. 819, 1022, 1197, 1305, 1540, 1565, 1567, 1588, 1616, 1627, 1629, 1630, 1631, 1632, 1633 and 1634/2006 filed by BSES challenging various orders passed by this Commission involving theft of electricity or dishonest abstraction of energy (DAE) as contemplated under Section 135 of the Electricity Act, 2003, the Delhi High Court has passed the following order, which is dated 8.11.2006:
"These petitions have been entertained only on account of the fact that the Consumer Courts were exercising jurisdiction in respect of the disputes relating to theft of electricity or dishonest abstraction of electrical energy even though a learned Single Judge of this Court in Delhi Vidyut Board v. Devendra Singh and Anr.,2006 130 DLT 156, has held that the issue of theft/dishonest abstraction of electrical energy does not fall in any of the sub -clauses or Sub -section (c) of Section 2 of the Consumer Protection Act, 1986 (for short, 'the said Act'). This Court was of the view that propriety demands that the Consumer Forums do not exercise jurisdiction till the legal proposition propounded in the aforesaid case of Delhi Vidyut Board v. Devendra Singh and Anr. , is good law.
In view of the aforesaid position, it is agreed that the Consumer Forums in Delhi will not exercise the jurisdiction in such matters in view of the prevalent legal position. It may be noticed that the State Commission is represented through a Counsel before the Court today. Learned Counsel for the State Commission also assures that while considering original complaints or appeals where the Commission has jurisdiction, the procedure prescribed in the said Act shall be adhered to especially in respect of service of notice on the opposite party. It is pointed out that in some of the matters, there are interim orders and since the Consumer Forums will not be able to proceed with these matters now and will have to dispose of the same as having no jurisdiction, the affected consumers would like to seek appropriate legal remedy. Thus, wherever, as on date, there are certain interim directions, the same shall continue to inure for the benefit of the consumers for a period of 30 days from today. The petitions stand disposed of."
(2.) AS is apparent, the High Court was of the view that the Consumer Forum do not exercise jurisdiction till the legal proposition propounded by a Single Judge of the High Court in Delhi Vidyut Board v. Devinder Singh,2006 130 DLT 156, is a good law.
(3.) IN Delhi Vidyut Board v. Devinder Singh , the Delhi High Court held that issue of theft/DAE does not fall in any of the sub -clauses of Sub -section (c) of Section 2 of the Consumer Protection Act, 1986, defining the word "complainant" and as such no consumer dispute lies under the Consumer Protection Act, 1986 before any Forum or the State or National Commission created under the Consumer Protection Act, 1986.
Order of the High Court is very brief and the relevant paras are as under :
"3. It is trite that power of the District Forum, State Commission and National Commission in exercise of pecuniary jurisdiction (excluding appellate jurisdiction) would be in respect of complaints. Section 2(c) of the Act defines the complaints as under -
(c) 'Complaint' means any allegation in writing made by the complainant that -
(i) an unfair trade practice or a restrictive trade practice has been adopted;
(ii) the goods brought by him or agreed to be brought by him suffer from one or more defects;
(iii) the services hired or availed of or agreed to be hired or availed of by him suffer from deficiency in any respect;
(iv) a trader has charged for the goods mentioned in the complaint a price in excess of the price fixed by or under any law for the time being in force or displayed on the goods or any package containing such goods;
(v) goods which will be hazardous to life and safety when used, are being offered for sale to the public in contravention of the provisions of any law for the time being in force requiring traders to display information in regard to the contents, manner and effect of use of such goods with a view to obtaining any relief provided by or under this Act.
(4) Needless to state that issue of theft/dishonest abstraction of electrical energy does not fall in any of the sub -clauses of Sub -section (c) of Section 2 of the Consumer Protection Act, 1986.
(5) I need not elaborate on the issue. For the reason the State Commission, Delhi, vide order dated 6.10.2003 disposing of a batch of appeals led appeal being No. 116/2003, New Delhi Power Limited v. S.B. Roy, has held that the dispute relating to theft/dishonest abstraction of electrical energy is not a consumer dispute and no complaint lies under the Act before any Forum created under the Act. Additionally, the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission.";
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