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In a recent judgment by the Chhattisgarh High Court, it has been held that the access to electricity supply should be considered as Human Right.
Justice Sanjay K Aggarwal has held that with the requirements to be satisfied under the Electricity laws, access to the supply of electricity is to be construed as Human Right. He further added that if the supply of electricity is denied even on satisfying requirements it would amount to violation of human rights.
The instant petition was filed by three residents of Kotmar, Raigarh- NR Sharma, Chhottelal Yadav, and Devendra Bohra. The petitioners are tenants residing at M/s Ind Synergy Limited.
In the year 2016, the petitioners applied for supply of electricity for their residence with Superintendent Engineer of Chhattisgarh State Power Distribution Company Limited but the application went into vain.
Later, in August 2016 the petitioners sent a legal notice to the power distribution company for not supplying the electricity despite the submission of application regarding the same. The power distribution company in its reply to the legal notice stated that the landlord of premises Synergy Limited is in arrears of payment of electricity bill and where there is non-payment of electricity charges the connection for supply of electricity cannot be provided in that premises. It was further stated in reply that a case regarding the same is pending before the competent court.
Hence, the present petition before this court.
It has been submitted by the petitioner’s counsel that supply of electricity is mandated by section 43(1) of the Electricity Act 2003 and in the event of non-supply of the electricity, section 43(3) of the act provides that the distributor is liable to pay penalty that will extend to Rs 1000 per day till the time the default continues.
It has been further submitted by him that the payment of electricity charges is pending at the part of synergies limited and is already pending before the court. The synergy limited in that matter has been granted interim relief by the court.
By interpreting Sections 43 and 44 of the Act, the High Court observed that it is clear that the intention of the legislature is to provide supply of the electricity to all the persons whether they are landlord, tenants, mortgagee or any other person having the lawful possession of the premises.
Holding the decision of the power supplier in the instant case as arbitrary, the high court directed that the petitioners be provided a new electricity connection within two weeks of completion of all formalities.