(Prayer: Petition filed under Article 226 of the Constitution of India praying to issue a Writ of Certiorarified Mandamus calling for the records of the second respondent in Lr.No.321/A/cs.Br/HT/AS/A2/F.R &C/2009, dated 24.12.2009 and quash and forbear the respondents from collecting for the period 12/2008 to 5/2009 and for subsequent period penalty charges for the consumption of demand and energy over and above the quota during evening peak hour in respect of the petitioner's service connection HT SC No.120, within Gobichettipalayam Electricity Distribution Circle.)
Heard the learned counsels appearing on behalf of the parties concerned.
2. Even though various averments have been made and many grounds had been raised in the affidavit filed in support of the writ petition, the main grievance of the petitioner is that the impugned demand notice/bill in respect of the peak hour penalty has been issued by the second respondent, without due notice being given to the petitioner and without affording sufficient opportunity of hearing to the petitioner.
3. The learned counsel appearing on behalf of the petitioner has stated that the second respondent has no authority, under the relevant provisions of the law, to levy the penalty, without the prior approval of the Tamil Nadu Electricity Regulatory Commission, which is the competent statutory authority, established in accordance with the Electricity Act, 2003.
4. It has been further stated that the second respondent had failed to follow the procedures laid down, under paragraph No.33 of the order, made in M.P.No.42 of 2008, dated 28.11.2008, issued by the Tamil Nadu Electricity Regulatory Commission. Therefore, the impugned demand notice/bill issued by the second respondent is liable to be set aside.
5. Mr.A.Selvendran, the learned counsel appearing on behalf of the first and the second respondents, had not refuted the claims made by the learned counsel appearing on behalf of the petitioner. However, he had submitted that if this Court deems it fit to set aside the impugned demand notice/bill of the second respondent, liberty may be granted to the second respondent to pass appropriate orders, afresh, after due notice is issued to the petitioner.
6. In view of the submissions made by the learned counsels appearing for the petitioner, as well as the respondents, and in view of the orders passed by this Court, in a number of writ petitions, wherein similar issues have been raised, the impugned demand notice/bill, issued by the second respondent, is set aside. However, it would be open to the second respondent to pass appropriate orders, afresh, including the issuing of the appropriate demand notice/bill, after giving due notice and after affording sufficient opportunity of hearing to the petitioner.
7. After due notice is issued by the second respondent, the petitioner would be at liberty to challenge the same, if it is found necessary to do so, by raising all the grounds available to the petitioner, including those which have been raised in this writ petition. It would also be open to the petitioner to raise the ground that the second respondent has no authority to levy the penalty, on the ground that it is against the dictum laid down by the Tamil Nadu Regulatory Commission, in M.P.No.42 of 2008, dated 28.11.2008.
8. In case the petitioner had already paid the bill amount it would be adjusted to the amounts that may be claimed by the Tamilnadu Electricity Boa
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rd, in the future bills relating to the petitioner, in case the final decision is in favour of the petitioner. The petitioner shall fully cooperate by participating in the inquiry or hearing that may be held by the concerned authorities of the respondent Electricity Board. The writ petition is ordered accordingly. No costs. Consequently, connected miscellaneous petition is closed.