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M/S. Gaurav Plaster, Barmsar Vs. Jvvnl Jodhpur and Ors - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
CourtRajasthan Jodhpur High Court
Decided On
AppellantM/S. Gaurav Plaster, Barmsar
RespondentJvvnl Jodhpur and Ors
Excerpt:
m/s. mittal udhyog, barmsar vs. jodhpur vidhyut vitran nigam limited & ors. (s.b.civil writ petition no.3500/14 and 23 other connected matters) 1 1. m/s. mittal udhyog, barmsar vs. jodhpur vidhyut vitran nigam limited & ors. (s.b.civil writ petition no.3500/14) 2. m/s. shree ram industries barmsar vs. jodhpur vidhyut vitran nigam limited & ors. (s.b.civil writ petition no.3501/14) 3. m/s. nav durga plaster udhyog vs. jodhpur vidhyut vitran nigam limited & ors. (s.b.civil writ petition no.3506/14) 4. m/s. abhishek plaster industries vs. jodhpur vidhyut vitran nigam limited & ors. (s.b.civil writ petition no.3523/14) 5. m/s. gaurav plaster, barmsar vs. jodhpur vidhyut vitran nigam limited & ors. (s.b.civil writ petition no.3637/14) 6. m/s. santosh jipsam, purabsar vs. jodhpur vidhyut vitran.....
Judgment:

M/S. MITTAL UDHYOG, BARMSAR VS. JODHPUR VIDHYUT VITRAN NIGAM LIMITED & ORS. (S.B.CIVIL WRIT PETITION NO.3500/14 and 23 other connected matters) 1 1. M/S. MITTAL UDHYOG, BARMSAR VS. JODHPUR VIDHYUT VITRAN NIGAM LIMITED & ORS. (S.B.CIVIL WRIT PETITION NO.3500/14) 2. M/S. SHREE RAM INDUSTRIES BARMSAR VS. JODHPUR VIDHYUT VITRAN NIGAM LIMITED & ORS. (S.B.CIVIL WRIT PETITION NO.3501/14) 3. M/S. NAV DURGA PLASTER UDHYOG VS. JODHPUR VIDHYUT VITRAN NIGAM LIMITED & ORS. (S.B.CIVIL WRIT PETITION NO.3506/14) 4. M/S. ABHISHEK PLASTER INDUSTRIES VS. JODHPUR VIDHYUT VITRAN NIGAM LIMITED & ORS. (S.B.CIVIL WRIT PETITION NO.3523/14) 5. M/S. GAURAV PLASTER, BARMSAR VS. JODHPUR VIDHYUT VITRAN NIGAM LIMITED & ORS. (S.B.CIVIL WRIT PETITION NO.3637/14) 6. M/S. SANTOSH JIPSAM, PURABSAR VS. JODHPUR VIDHYUT VITRAN NIGAM LIMITED & ORS. (S.B.CIVIL WRIT PETITION NO.3659/14) 7. M/S. VINAYAK INDUSTRIES, BARMSAR VS. JODHPUR VIDHYUT VITRAN NIGAM LIMITED & ORS. (S.B.CIVIL WRIT PETITION NO.3660/14) 8. M/S. BENIWAL PLASTER, PURABSAR VS. JODHPUR VIDHYUT VITRAN NIGAM LIMITED & ORS. (S.B.CIVIL WRIT PETITION NO.3662/14) 9. M/S. KALIKA INDUSTRIES, BARAMSAR VS. JODHPUR VIDHYUT VITRAN NIGAM LIMITED & ORS. (S.B.CIVIL WRIT PETITION NO.3666/14) 10. M/S. SHREE BAJRANGBALI PLASTER, BARAMSAR VS. JODHPUR VIDHYUT VITRAN NIGAM LIMITED & ORS. (S.B.CIVIL WRIT PETITION NO.3667/14) 11. M/S. LAXMI PLASTER, BARMSAR VS. JODHPUR VIDHYUT VITRAN NIGAM LIMITED & ORS. (S.B.CIVIL WRIT PETITION NO.3672/14) 12. M/S. SHIV INDUSTRIES, PURABSAR VS. JODHPUR VIDHYUT VITRAN NIGAM LIMITED & ORS. (S.B.CIVIL WRIT PETITION NO.3677/14) 13. M/S. JAI BHAWANI PLASTER, BARMSAR VS. JODHPUR VIDHYUT VITRAN NIGAM LIMITED & ORS. (S.B.CIVIL WRIT PETITION NO.3678/14) 14. M/S. MAHABALI PLASTER UDHYOG VS. JODHPUR VIDHYUT VITRAN NIGAM LIMITED & ORS. (S.B.CIVIL WRIT PETITION NO.3813/14) 15. M/S. GANESH PLASTER UDHYOG, BARAMSAR VS. JODHPUR VIDHYUT VITRAN NIGAM LIMITED & ORS. M/S. MITTAL UDHYOG, BARMSAR VS. JODHPUR VIDHYUT VITRAN NIGAM LIMITED & ORS. (S.B.CIVIL WRIT PETITION NO.3500/14 and 23 other connected matters) 2 (S.B.CIVIL WRIT PETITION NO.3816/14) 16. M/S. BALAJI PLASTER UDHYOG VS. JODHPUR VIDHYUT VITRAN NIGAM LIMITED & ORS. (S.B.CIVIL WRIT PETITION NO.3817/14) 17. M/S. BHAGWATI PLASTER UDHYOG, BARMSAR VS. JODHPUR VIDHYUT VITRAN NIGAM LIMITED & ORS. (S.B.CIVIL WRIT PETITION NO.3945/14) 18. M/S. PUNITA INDUSTRIES, BARMSAR VS. JODHPUR VIDHYUT VITRAN NIGAM LIMITED & ORS. (S.B.CIVIL WRIT PETITION NO.3661/14) 19. M/S. NAVGHARAT PLASTER UDHYOG VS. JODHPUR VIDHYUT VITRAN NIGAM LIMITED & ORS. (S.B.CIVIL WRIT PETITION NO.3524/14) 20. M/S. BALAJI PIPE INDUSTRIES VS. JODHPUR VIDHYUT VITRAN NIGAM LIMITED & ORS. (S.B.CIVIL WRIT PETITION NO.3682/14) 21. M/S. SHYAM PLASTER, PURABSAR VS. JODHPUR VIDHYUT VITRAN NIGAM LIMITED & ORS. (S.B.CIVIL WRIT PETITION NO.3715/14) 22. M/S. ABHISHEK PLASTER INDUSTRIES, BARMSAR VS. JODHPUR VIDHYUT VITRAN NIGAM LIMITED & ORS. (S.B.CIVIL WRIT PETITION NO.3722/14) 23. M/S. JAI SHANKER PLASTER UDHYOG VS. JODHPUR VIDHYUT VITRAN NIGAM LIMITED & ORS. (S.B.CIVIL WRIT PETITION NO.4763/14) 24. M/S. SHUBHAM PLASTER UDHYOG VS. JODHPUR VIDHYUT VITRAN NIGAM LIMITED & ORS. (S.B.CIVIL WRIT PETITION NO.5112/14) Dated:- 9.12.14. HON'BLE MR.JUSTICE SANGEET LODHA Mr. K.R.Saharan, for the petitioners. Mr.Avin Chhangani ) Mr.Vipul Dharnia ), for the respondents.

1. By way of these writ petitions, the petitioners entrepreneurs, operating manufacturing units, have questioned legality of the notices 6.6.13 issued by the Assistant Engineer M/S. MITTAL UDHYOG, BARMSAR VS. JODHPUR VIDHYUT VITRAN NIGAM LIMITED & ORS. (S.B.CIVIL WRIT PETITION NO.3500/14 and 23 other connected matters) 3 (Distribution), Jodhpur Discom, Rawatsar, whereby the petitioners have been directed to remain present before the said authority on the date specified to raise the objections, if any, in respect of the recovery of the demand quantified.

2. As per the case set out by the petitioners in the petition filed, the recovery is sought to be effected on account of defect in the meter installed at their premises. However, a perusal of the impugned notices reveal that the demand is sought to be raised by the respondents towards the cost of Line/Sub Station. According to the petitioners, the POP Association, Baramsar Rawatsar filed objections against the demand sought to be raised as aforesaid, but to no avail.

3. In the reply to the writ petitions filed, the respondents have taken the stand that vide impugned notice, the petitioners were extended an opportunity of hearing against the proposed demand, however, they have not availed the same. It is submitted that the impugned demand is not based on account of defects found in the petitioners' electricity meter. It is submitted that as a matter of fact, demand is raised inasmuch as, at the time of release of the electricity connection, the petitioners did not deposit the cost of Line/Transformer/Sub Station, which they were required to deposit in conformity with commercial circular M/S. MITTAL UDHYOG, BARMSAR VS. JODHPUR VIDHYUT VITRAN NIGAM LIMITED & ORS. (S.B.CIVIL WRIT PETITION NO.3500/14 and 23 other connected matters) 4 No.170 dated 19.7.03 and the relevant rules. It is submitted that prior to filing of the present writ petitions, the petitioners had preferred civil suits before the Civil Judge (JD), Rawatsar, which were rejected as barred by law. It is submitted that as per Clause 52 of 'Terms and Conditions for Supply of Electricity- 2004' laid down by the Rajasthan Electricity Regulatory Commission in pursuance of Rajasthan Electricity Regulatory Commission (Electricity Supply Code and Connected Matters) Regulations-2004 issued in exercise of power conferred under Sections 43 to 48, 50, 55 and 56 of Electricity Act, 2003, any dispute relating to charges payable by a consumer except assessment under Clause 48(B) or (C) i.e. the matter with regard to unauthorised use and other offences of electricity and compounding of an offence, may be referred by the consumer to the appropriate Consumer's Dues Settlement Committee and therefore, the petitioners are not entitled to invoke the extra ordinary jurisdiction of this court under Article 226 of the Constitution of India.

4. Learned counsel appearing for the petitioners submitted that the impugned demand is raised by the respondent-JVVNL unilaterally after a lapse of so many years without extending an opportunity of hearing to the petitioners, which is violative of M/S. MITTAL UDHYOG, BARMSAR VS. JODHPUR VIDHYUT VITRAN NIGAM LIMITED & ORS. (S.B.CIVIL WRIT PETITION NO.3500/14 and 23 other connected matters) 5 principles of natural justice. Learned counsel submitted that without there being any finding regarding the irregularities having been committed by the petitioners, the demand raised is absolutely unjustified. Learned counsel submitted that the petitioners had no opportunity to question the legality of the audit objection and therefore, the demand raised solely on the basis of audit objection is not sustainable in the eyes of law.

5. On the other hand, the counsel appearing on behalf of the respondent-JVVNL reiterating the stand taken in the reply to the writ petitions filed, submitted that the demand is sought to be created against the petitioners not on account of any irregularities committed by them. Learned counsel submitted that as a matter of fact, the demand is created inasmuch as, while releasing the electricity supply connection in favour of the petitioners, the amount payable by them towards the cost of Line/Transformer/Sub Station was not paid by them. Learned counsel submitted that by the order impugned, the petitioners were directed to avail the opportunity of hearing, which they have not availed. Learned counsel submitted that in view of the availability of remedy of reference of the dispute to the appropriate Settlement Committee in terms of Clause 52 of the Terms and Conditions for Supply of Electricity-2004, there is no M/S. MITTAL UDHYOG, BARMSAR VS. JODHPUR VIDHYUT VITRAN NIGAM LIMITED & ORS. (S.B.CIVIL WRIT PETITION NO.3500/14 and 23 other connected matters) 6 reason as to why the petitioners should be permitted to invoke the extra ordinary jurisdiction of this court under Article 226 of the Constitution of India and therefore, the writ petitions deserve to be dismissed on this count alone.

6. I have considered the rival submissions of the learned counsel for the parties and perused the material on record.

7. A bare perusal of the impugned notices goes to show that the demand is not sought to be created by the respondent- JVVNL against the petitioners on account of any defect in the meters or any irregularities having been committed by the petitioners rather, the amount quantified is sought to be recovered towards the cost of Line/Transformer/Sub Station. It is further apparent from the perusal of the notice that while quantifying the amount, the petitioners were extended an opportunity to raise their objection against the proposed demand and produce the documents in support thereof, if any. Thus, the contention of the petitioners that the demand is sought to be raised without extending an opportunity of hearing to them is devoid of any merit. In the considered opinion of this court, if the petitioners had any grievance against the demand raised, it was always open for them to make submissions in this regard before the authority concerned. M/S. MITTAL UDHYOG, BARMSAR VS. JODHPUR VIDHYUT VITRAN NIGAM LIMITED & ORS. (S.B.CIVIL WRIT PETITION NO.3500/14 and 23 other connected matters) 7 8. Be that as it may, indisputably, as per Clause 52 of the Terms and Conditions for Supply of Electricity-2004, any dispute relating to the charges payable by the consumer except under Clause 48 (B) or (C) may be referred by the consumer to appropriate Consumer's Dues Settlement Committee constituted for the purpose, which in its turn is required to pass an appropriate order within the stipulated period. In the considered opinion of this court, the present matters do not suggest any special feature so as to permit the petitioners to invoke the extra ordinary jurisdiction of this court under Article 226 of the Constitution of India by passing the remedy available to them under Clause 52 of the Terms and Conditions for Supply of Electricity-2004.

9. At this stage, learned counsel appearing for the petitioners submitted that the petitioners may be relegated to the remedy of raising the dispute before the Settlement Committee in terms of Clause 52 of Terms and Conditions for Supply of Electricity-2004, but then, till the dispute is adjudicated upon by the Settlement Committee, the interim order passed by this court restraining the respondents from taking coercive action against the petitioners for recovery of the impugned demand may be continued.

10. On the facts and in the circumstances of the case, where M/S. MITTAL UDHYOG, BARMSAR VS. JODHPUR VIDHYUT VITRAN NIGAM LIMITED & ORS. (S.B.CIVIL WRIT PETITION NO.3500/14 and 23 other connected matters) 8 the demand has been raised against the petitioners by the respondent-JVVNL after lapse of so many years since release of electricity connection, this court is of the opinion that the limited prayer made on behalf of the petitioners as aforesaid, deserves acceptance.

11. In the result, the writ petitions are disposed of in terms that the petitioners may avail the remedy of reference of the dispute to the appropriate Settlement Committee within a period of one month from the date of this order. The Settlement Committee shall pass the appropriate order after giving an opportunity of hearing to the parties and due consideration of the submissions to be made on their behalf, within a period of three months thereafter. Pending adjudication of the dispute to be raised by the petitioners by the Settlement Committee, the interim order passed by this court restraining the respondents from taking coercive action for recovery of the impugned demand shall remain operative. No order as to costs. (SANGEET LODHA),J.

Aditya/-


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