BIRLA JUTE AND INDUSTRIES LTD Vs. RAJASTHAN STATE ELECTRICITY BOARDJAIPUR
HIGH COURT OF RAJASTHAN (FROM: JAIPUR)
BIRLA JUTE AND INDUSTRIES LTD., CHITTORGARH
RAJASTHAN STATE ELECTRICITY BOARD, JAIPUR
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K.S.Sidhu, J. -
(1.)Birla Jute and Industries Ltd. (petitioner 1 herein) is the proprietor of Birla Cement Works Chittorgarh; and M. M. Goswami (petitioner 2 herein) is the Senior Vice-President of Birla Cement Works Chittorgarh. The petitioners filed this application for issue to the State of Rajasthan (respondent 2) and the Rajasthan State Electricity Board (R.S.E.B.) direction, order or writ including writ in the nature of mandamus directing them to supply continuous electric energy of 10824 KVA to the petitioners' Cement Works at Chittorgarh and to refrain from showing discrimination in favour of M/s. Modi Alkalies and Chemicals Ltd. Alwar (respondent 4) as is being done pursuant to the letter, dated Dec. 20, 1982. The impugned letter which was addressed by the Special Secretary to the Rajasthan Government in the Industries (GR. I) Department to respondent 4 is as under: I am directed to refer to your representation dated the 23rd November, 1982 regarding power supply to your unit being established at Alwar (Rajasthan) and to say that considering the special circumstances of your Company, it has been decided that in case power cuts become unavoidable, you will be given on continuous basis a minimum of 8 MW of power at 60% load factors barring unforeseen circumstances for a period of six months from the date of regular power connection. This arrangement will be reviewed after the lapse of the said period of six months.
(2.)The petitioners' case briefly stated is that by issuing this letter the State Government has discriminated against the petitioners and in favour of respondent 4, thus ensuring supply of electric energy of a minimum of 8 MW at 60% load factor by the R. S. E. B. to the respondent's factory on continuous basis for a period of six months from the date of regular power connection, although such facility has been denied to the petitioners in spite of repeated request by them in that behalf. It is admitted in the writ petition that respondent 4 who proposes to set up a factory for the production of caustic soda would need to run the factory continuously in order to avoid damage to the capital equipment, plant and machinery, but it is further pleaded that the petitioners' Cement factory at Chittorgarh will also have to suffer similar damage if minimum quantity of power is not supplied to them to enable them to keep their kilns rotating. While the respondent is assured of a regular and continuous supply of a minimum of 8 MW of power at 60% load factor even during the period of a 100% power-cut, the petitioners who have contracted for the supply of 10.824 MW are not being supplied any power during such periods.
(3.)The petitioners grievance is that the action of the State Government and the R. S. E. B., in showing favour to respondent 4 in the matter of supply of continuous power to their factory and denying the same facility to the petitioners' factory, although both the factories are similarly placed in their need for continuous supply of minimum power, is violative of their fundamental rights of equal protection of the laws and equality before the law as guaranteed by Article 14 of the Constitution. The petitioners have mentioned in this context that respondent 4 is not the only industrial unit manfacturing caustic soda in Rajasthan and that other such units, for example, the Shriram Fertilizers and Chemicals Kola, have also not been assured of any minimum power supply on continuous basis.
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