MAHARAJA BHAGWATSINGH OF UDAIPUR Vs. MAHARANA BHOPAL ELECTRIC SUPPLY CO LTD
HIGH COURT OF RAJASTHAN
MAHARAJA BHAGWATSINGH OF UDAIPUR
MAHARANA BHOPAL ELECTRIC SUPPLY CO.LTD.
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(1.)AS both the Courts below have dismissed the suit of the plaintiff, he has preferred the present second appeal which arises from the appellate judgment and decree of the District Judge of Udaipur dated August 9, 1960, in the following circumstances.
(2.)THE plaintiff is the ruler of the former Udaipur State. He raised the present suit on April 14, 1955, with the allegation that the Maharana Bhopal Electric Supply company Limited. Udaipur, Defendant No 1 (herein- after referred to as "the company") was constituted in 1950 to generate and supply electricity, which was the responsibility of the firm of Messrs. Bhandari Iron and Steel Company. The company has been discharging that responsibility. It was pleaded in paragraph 6 that an agreement was made with the aforesaid firm of Messrs. Bhandari Iron and steel Company on October 10/11, 1946 (Ex. 11) according to which electricity was to be supplied to the Maharana on the following condition:
"free power to palaces up to a maximum of 2000 units per month. For power consumed above these units, concession rates will be charged which should not exceed fifty per cent of the general rates for lights, fang and power respectively. "
According to the plaintiff, this agreement was accepted as binding by the Company when it was formed by the owners of Messrs. Bhandari Iron and Steel Company. Thereafter the former State of Mewar merged into the former United State of rajasthan and that Government reiterated the aforesaid condition of the agreement dated October 10/ 11, 1946 in the document dated December 31, 1948. This was in fact notified in the form of a licence which was issued in favour of the Company by the successor State of Rajasthan on August 26, 1950. The plaintiff further pleaded that the Company supplied electricity to him from 1946 up to February 1954 in accordance with the above mentioned agreement, but that it wrote to the plaintiffs Master of Household on February 10, 1954 that if the plaintiff did not pay the bill which, according to the plaintiff, was not in conformity with the terms of the agreement, up to February 13, 1954, the Company would stop the supply of electricity. The supply was in fact disconnected on March 4, 1954 and it was not resumed in spite of all efforts of the plaintiff. The Company however re-started tho supply from April 2, 1955 on a temporary basis but as the plaintiff apprehended that it would be discontinued in a few days, he instituted the present suit alleging that as he himself had not committed a breach of the agreement with the Company and was always prepared to make the payment in accordance with it, a decree may be passed granting an injunction against the Company that it shall continue to make the supply of electricity in accordance with the agreements dated October 10/11, 1946 and December 31, 1948, and that the supply will not be disconnected as long as the plaintiff continued to pay for it in accordance with those agreements.
(3.)THE Company filed a written statement and admitted that an agreement was made earlier, but pleaded that the plaintiff was not a party to it and was not entitled to the rights and the benefits thereof. Further, it pleaded that the agreement had become nugatory. The Company also pleaded that the Indian electricity (Supply) Act came into force in Rajasthan with effect from April 1, 1951, so that Section 57 and Schedules VI and VII thereof became parts of the licence of the Company. On this basis it was stated that the Rajasthan Government appointed a Rating Committee to fix a proper rate for the supply of electricity for the consumers living in Udaipur city, and that the Government thereafter determined the new rates for the supply of electricity in accordance with the recommendations of that committee, and the concession received by the plaintiff earlier came to an end as it was illegal. It was therefore pleaded that the bill which had been prepared for the period after july 1, 1953 was in accordance with the rates fixed by the State Government and that the plaintiff's electric supply connection was disconnected because it was not paid in full. It was also pleaded that any contract, or licence, or instrument which contravened the provisions of the Electricity (Supply) Act, was void. So also, it was pleaded that the Rajasthan State had terminated the earlier concession and made a new agreement with the Company and it was not open to the plaintiff to challenge it.
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