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APA Hotels Pvt. Limited, Represented by its Director Finance, M. Prabhakaran v/s The Tamil Nadu Generation and Distribution Corporation Ltd. (TANGEDCO), Rep. By its Chairman & Managing Director, Chennai & Others

    W.P. No. 2384 of 2022 & WMP No. 2541 of 2022

    Decided On, 09 February 2022

    At, High Court of Judicature at Madras

    By, THE HONOURABLE DR.(MRS.) JUSTICE ANITA SUMANTH

    For the Petitioner: Rahul Balaji, Advocate. For the Respondents: Keerthana Shenoi, Advocate, L. Jai Venkatesh, Standing Counsel.



Judgment Text

(Prayer: Writ Petition filed under Article 226 of the Constitution of India, to issue a Writ of Mandamus directing the respondents to extend the benefit of the order of this Hon'ble Court dated 14.08.2020 passed in W.P.No.7678 of 2020 to the petitioner as well, without discrimination as guaranteed under Article 14 of the Constitution of India and consequently direct the 3rd respondent to revise and issue the fresh CC bills, in respect of the petitioner's HTSC No.019094022394 for the months of May 2021 to June 2021 and such other periods falling in the lockdown periods consequential to Government Orders as ordered by the Hon'ble Court on 14.08.2020 in W.P.No.7678 of 2020 batch and further direct the respondents to refund the excessively collected demand charges.)

1. Ms.Keerthana Shenoi, learned counsel on behalf of Mr.L.Jai Venkatesh, learned Standing Counsel accepts notice for the respondents and is armed with instructions to proceed with the matter finally. Hence, by consent of both sides, this Writ Petition is disposed finally even at the stage of admission.

2. The petitioner seeks a mandamus directing the respondents to extend the benefit of order dated 14.08.2020 passed by this Court in W.P.No.7678 of 2020 to the petitioner and consequently direct the third respondent to revise and issue fresh consumption bills in respect of the petitioner's service connection for the periods when the establishment was under lockdown consequential to Government Orders.

3. The petitioner has approached this Court earlier in W.P.No.19906 of 2020 seeking an identical prayer. That Writ Petition has come to be allowed on 04.01.2021 following the ratio laid down in W.P.No.7678 of 2020 and applying the same to this petitioner as well. The relevant portion of the order reads as follows:

The Hon'ble High Court of Madras has passed an order on 14.08.2020 in W.P.No.7678 of 2020 and others batch and the operative portion of the order is reproduced below:

“45.....

a) TANGEDCO shall issue a revised bill to the petitioners by applying Regulation 6(b) of the Supply Code for the entire period when the establishment was under shut down;

b) If TANGEDCO has already recovered the entire dues from any of the petitioners, the bill shall be reworked in accordance with the direction given in Clause (a) and the excess amount shall be adjusted towards the future bills;

c) If the demand made by TANGEDCO has been adjusted from the security deposit and any of the petitioner has been asked to pay any amount towards additional security deposit on that count, the said claim shall be withdrawn forthwith and the calculation of the additional security deposit shall be independently done under Regulation 5 of the Supply Code and demand/adjustment shall be done in accordance with the said Regulation;

d) The TANGEDCO shall not levy compensation charges towards low PF from the petitioners during the period of lockdown. Even if such levy is made in future, show cause notice shall be issued to the consumer and an opportunity shall be given to the consumer before levying any compensation under Clause 6.1.1.6 of the Tariff Regulation;

e) If any amount has already been recovered towards levy of compensation charges for low PF from any of the petitioners, the said amount shall be adjusted towards future bills.

f) These directions will apply only for the period during which the establishment was under total lockdown due to the orders issued by the Government and it is made clear that it pertains only to the Minimum Charges payable under Regulation 6(b) of the Supply Code and there is no exemption or concession insofar as the charges payable for the actual consumption of electricity (Energy Charges); and

g) If any of the establishments continue to be under lockdown due to the Government Orders passed in this regard, the minimum charges alone shall be collected till the lifting of the lockdown.

46. All the writ petitions are accordingly allowed...”

3.0 However, TANGEDCO has filed appeals against the above order vide W.A.No.836 of 2020 and etc. before the Hon'ble Divison Bench of Madras High Court and the appeals are yet to be heard. Hence, the Superintending Engineer/EDCs are instructed to implement the above order scrupulously without prejudice to the outcome of appeal filed as stated above. The above order may be implemented only to the petitioners and also to those who have obtained similar order in this matter.

(By order of the JMD/TANGEDCO)

Sd/- dated 16.10.2020

Chief Financial Controller/Revenue”.

4. Though the aforesaid order passed on 04.01.2021 would, in my view, suffice to protect the interests of the petitioner for the subsequent periods as well, since the prayer therein was for pr

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otection in respect of all periods falling under lockdown consequential to Government Orders, learned counsel for the petitioner would seek a specific direction in respect of the periods of lockdown from 2021 onwards. 5. Thus the benefit of the aforesaid order stands extended for the periods commencing from 01.01.2021 as well when the establishment was under lockdown pursuant to Government Orders passed in this regard. 6. This Writ Petition is disposed as aforesaid. No costs. Connected Miscellaneous Petition is closed.
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