Delhi HC sets aside NCT govt directive to DERC on power tariff

Posted By: Pti
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New Delhi, Feb 18 (PTI) The city government todaysuffered a setback as the Delhi High Court set aside acommunication directing Delhi Electricity RegulatoryCommission (DERC) to put on hold its decision on power tarifffor 2010-2011 saying the act was "unjustified".

"We hold the communication of the state is absolutelyunjustified, unwarranted, untenable and accordingly the samestands quashed, said a division bench of Chief Justice DipakMisra and Justice Manmohan while accepting Attorney General GE Vahanvati''s view that the government has no power to passsuch direction to a statutory body like DERC.

"It was an unwarranted interdiction. The governmentshould have suggested some kind of a matter relating to policyhaving nexus with public interests but unfortunately that isnot so," the bench added while rejecting government''s argumentthat it had issued the direction in public interest.

"The concept of public interest appears to be asubterfuge, in fact, totally divorced from the arena of publicinterest," the court said and said the interdiction wascontrary to the law.

"Any encroachment is not permissible. The stategovernment could have issued only policy direction and notpre-emptory directions like it did," the court said and setaside the government''s May 2010 communication to DERC.

Raising a question whether the NCT government has anypower to issue a direction to any statutory body asking it notto release its decision on tariff, the bench had soughtassistance of the Attorney General who said the DelhiElectricity Act did not empower the government to pass such anorder to a statutory commission.

The Bench was hearing a PIL filed by Nand KishoreGarg, through counsel Laleit Kumar, for a direction toDelhi government for allegedly succumbing to the pressure ofDISCOMS to hike tariff and asked DERC not to make public itsapproved tariff order for 2010-2011. .

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