At, Rajasthan State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission Jaipur
By, THE HONOURABLE MR. JUSTICE ASHOK PARIHAR
By, PRESIDENT & THE HONOURABLE MR. SIKANDAR PUNJABI
For the Petitioner: R.K. Sharma, Advocate. For the Respondent: Anil Bhatia, Advocate.
Ashok Parihar, President–
1. Since both the appeals are directed against order dated 8.8.2003 passed by the District Forum, Bhilwara the same have been heard together and are being decided by this common order.
2. The complainant company has a textile factory at Bhilwara. A vigilance checking was made by the authorised officers of the corporation on 16.9.2001. However, since the meter room of the factory was closed a seal was put on the lock. The vigilance party again inspected the factory premises on 17.9.2001. The
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VCR was prepared on 17.9.2001 itself. The copy of the reports of 16.9.2001 and 17.9.2001 had duly been given to the representative of the factory premises. Subsequently a notice was issued to the company on 25.9.2001 in regard to disconnection of the power supply as also for depositing the compound amount for re-connection as per condition No. 29(B)(2) of the General Conditions of Supply. A reply was submitted by the company on 26.9.2001 asking for the exact amount to be deposited. The details were given by the corporation vide letter dated 27.9.2001. It may also be noticed here that the power supply was disconnected on 25.9.2001 itself. The compound amount of Rs. 2,25,000 was deposited by the company on 1.10.2001. It was only on 13.3.2002 the complaint was filed by the company before the District Forum challanging the action of disconnection of power supply as also recovery of the compound amount. The District Forum vide order dated 8.8.2003 while partly allowing the complaint directed the corporation to refund 50% of the compound amount so deposited by the complainant i.e. Rs. 1,12,500 within one month. No other relief was allowed by the District Forum to the complainant.
3. The corporation has challanged the impugned order dated 8.8.2003 passed by the District Forum so far as refund of 50% of the amount deposited by the complainant is concerned. Whereas the complainant company has challanged the impugned order for recovery of the remaining amount as well.
4. The learned Counsel for the corporation has submitted that whole action was taken by the corporation strictly in accordance with relevant rules and circulars as prevalent at the relevant time. However, the District Forum has totally mis-read the provisions of the terms and conditions of supply of electricity. It has also been submitted that the District Forum has not given any reasons as to how 50% amount has to be refunded.
5. The learned Counsel for the company on the other hand submitted that before disconnection of supply on 25.9.2001 no prior notice or opportunity of hearing was given to the company. It has also been submitted that the amount of Rs. 2,25,000 was deposited by the company on 1.10.2001 under protest. It has also been submitted that copies of VCR had not been given to the company along with the notice given on 25.9.2001. Since there has been no allegation of tampering with the seal of the meter, the corporation was not justified in disconnecting the supply and recovering the compound amount.
6. After hearing Counsel for the parties we have carefully gone through the material on record.
7. There is allegation of stopping the meter by some outside device, whereas, as per MRI power had been continuously used by the company during the relevant period.
8. A bare perusal of the reports dated 16.9.2001 as also 17.9.2001 prepared by the vigilance party show that the inspection was made in presence of representative of the company and both the reports contain the signatures as well which have not been disputed by the company so far. A letter dated 1.10.2001 signed by the authorised officer of the company would show that copies of VCR had been received by them and the company was voluntary prepared to deposit a sum of Rs. 2,25,000 without any protest. The company also failed to produce any evidence that during relevant period the factory was closed and no power was used.
9. Condition No. 29 (B) of the General Conditions of Supply and Scale of Miscellaneous Charges relating to supply of electricity by the erstwhile Electricity Board reads as under:
"29(B) Disconnection of Supply-
(1) Where on an inspection made under the condition 29(A) the authorised officer is of the view that the consumer has committed an act of malpractice or improper, or unauthorised or unfair consumption, abstraction, use or drawal of electrical energy, authorised officer may disconnect the supply of energy of the consumer forthwith and without any notice to the consumer."
10. As such the contention of the learned Counsel for the company in regard to notice prior to disconnection does not hold good. In our opinion, even the District Forum has totally misread the above provision. It has also been noticed that in fact the District Forum has not given any reason whatsoever as to why the compound amount had been reduced to 50%. The calculation of compound amount has not been challanged or disputed so far. Since whole action has been taken by the corporation strictly in accordance with law, the impugned order passed by the District Forum cannot be sustained and the same is hereby quashed and set aside.
11. The appeal filed by the corporation is allowed accordingly. Consequently, the appeal filed by the company stands dismissed. There will be no order as to costs. The corporation may get back the amount deposited before the District Forum in the present appeal.