New Delhi: Plea against AAP's power bills waiver disposed

Plea against AAP's power bills disposed
New Delhi, May 22: The Delhi High Court on Thursday disposed of a plea filed against the erstwhile Arvind Kejriwal-led AAP government's decision to give 50 percent waiver on pending power bills of 24,036 consumers.

The consumers had stopped payment of their dues during their Aam Aadmi Party's "bijli satyagraha", from October 2012 to December 2013.

A division bench of Chief Justice G. Rohini and Justice R.S. Endlaw disposed of the plea after an affidavit filed by the city government said it has not made any provision in the budget for funds to finance the subsidy on electricity as promised by the erstwhile AAP regime.

The court said that as the AAP government was not in power in Delhi at present, there were less chances of implementation of the power waiver decision.

It said if at all in future any government takes this decision, the court can be approached again.

The bench was hearing a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by advocate Vivek Narayan Sharma, who sought quashing of the AAP government's decision to give 50 percent waiver on pending bills of the 24,036 consumers and to close power theft cases registered against 2,508 consumers last year.

On Feb 12, the AAP government, two days before it resigned, announced it would provide 50 percent waiver on the pending bills and also decided to waive the penalties for default.

An affidavit filed by the city government

The plea said that such an action of the government to close theft cases was like "sponsoring and abetting criminal/terrorism acts and acts against rule of law and constitution".

Shortly after its formation, the AAP had launched a "bijli satyagraha" alleging that power bills in Delhi were inflated. As part of the campaign, Kejriwal urged people of Delhi to stop paying their bills, the plea said.

During October 2012 to December 2013, the authorities disconnected 2,508 electricity meters for non-payment of bills, following which many people allegedly started stealing power. Numerous theft cases are pending in courts.

The plea said the AAP was enticing the public to follow no rules, and the estimated loss to public exchequer because of the move was around Rs.6 crore.

Filing an affidavit for the Delhi government, deputy secretary of power Madhu Sudan had said that in the absence of availability of funds, it was not possible to implement the decision of the erstwhile Delhi cabinet for providing relief to the electricity consumers who stopped paying their bills.


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