At, High Court of Delhi
By, THE HONOURABLE MR. JUSTICE S. RAVINDRA BHAT
For the Appearing Parties: O.P. Gupta & M.S. Vinayak, Advocates.
1. Issue notice. Mr. M.S. Vinayak, counsel appearing for the respondent accepts notice. With consent, the matter has been heard finally.
2. The petitioner and his relatives/family members have four electricity connections. The petitioner has relied upon on separate documentation such as ESI registration, Sales Tax and MCD Licences e
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c. for the submission that all the electricity meters pertain to different businesses/concerns.3. An inspection was carried out by the respondent on 19th April, 2004 During the course of this, the connected load was noted to be in excess of the sanctioned load, namely, 293 K.W. in stead of 18.89+31.33+15.42+12.19 K.W. sanctioned in respect of the four meters. This fact has not been denied. The petitioner was thereafter given a hearing and a speaking order was passed on 14th June, 2004 The speaking order recorded the contents of the inspection and also held that there was inter-mixing of the four connections. Based on the tariff conditions, the LIP tariff as applicable under 2003-2004 were imposed.4. Mr. Gupta, learned counsel for the petitioner submits that the bill issued pursuant to the proceedings is in the sum of Rs.6,28,254/-. He also states that the imposition of tariff 2003-2004, on the assumption that the LIP tariff was applicable, is wrong. The allegation of inter-mixing of connections is also disputed. Learned counsel submits that aggrieved by the speaking order, a complaint was preferred to Consumer Grievance Redressal Forum. The Forum by its order dated 23rd November, 2004 rejected the complaint and upheld the speaking order. Learned counsel has relied upon a separate view expressed by the Member (Legal).5. Mr. Vinayak, learned counsel for the respondent submits that the dispute raised in these proceedings are appealable to the Ombudsman constituted under Section 42(6) and 42(7) of the Electricity Act. He submits that the Ombudsman was constituted by a notification gazetted on 11th March, 2005. The Ombudsman was in fact appointed in accordance with the notification in August 2004 It is submitted that each of the contentions relating to correctness, inspection or the applicability of the tariff etc. are matters that can and ought to be gone into in appeal before the Ombudsman. Learned counsel submits that both, the Forum and the Ombudsman have sufficient powers to give relief which include the power to modify the demand, downwards or settle the claims of the consumer.6. After hearing counsel for the parties, I am of the view that the petitioner ought to approach the Ombudsman under Section 42(6) of the Act. The speaking order in the present case was passed in June 2004 The petitioner chose to approach the Forum in July, 2004 The Forum passed its order on 23rd November, 2004 Having elected his remedy in this manner it would be appropriate that the petitioner seeks remedy against his grievance in respect of the Forum before the Ombudsman.7. In view of the above, the Petition is dismissed. The petitioner is however granted liberty to approach the Ombudsman within four weeks from today. The Ombudsman shall hear and decide the appeal as per provisions of DRC Regulations which provide for an outer limit of three months. The Ombudsman shall also consider and return findings on all the contentions raised by the petitioner.The writ petition is dismissed in terms of the above directions. No costs.