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Baroda Municipal Corporation and anr. Vs. Gujarat Electricity Board - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectElectricity
CourtGujarat High Court
Decided On
Judge
Reported in(1986)1GLR185
AppellantBaroda Municipal Corporation and anr.
RespondentGujarat Electricity Board
Cases ReferredW.U.P.E. Power & Supply Co. v. State of U.P.
Excerpt:
- - in other words, section 46 and regulation 8 clearly empower the board to fix the running charge. on the contrary, as pointed out above regulation 9 clearly provides for blocks in the maximum demand or in the energy consumption or in both so as to vary with the magnitude of the demand and/or consumption. this clearly indicate that while fixing tariff, the board can revise or provide for blocks of time or for season. in para 5.70, the committee recommended that time differentiating meters should be installed for all bulk consumers who take loads of i mw and above, so that their peak hour consumption and off-peak consumption can be measured and charges levied accordingly. i fail to see as to now interim relief obtained by a consumer against the corporation in a suit in which the board.....r.c. mankad, j.1. petitioner no. 1 baroda municipal corporation (hereinafter referred to as the 'corporation') is a corporation constituted under section 5 of the bombay provincial municipal corporations act, 1949. petitioner no. 2 is its commissioner. respondent gujarat electricity board (hereinafter referred to as the 'board') is constituted under section 5 of the electricity (supply) act, 1848 (hereinafter referred to as the 'supply act'). petitioners have filed this petition challenging the revision of grid tariff by the board under notice dated february 9, 1984 given to five licensees including the corporation in the state of gujarat. by the said notice, the board intimated to all the licenses that the board had decided to revise the existing grid tariff applicable to the generating.....
Judgment:

R.C. Mankad, J.

1. Petitioner No. 1 Baroda Municipal Corporation (hereinafter referred to as the 'Corporation') is a Corporation constituted under Section 5 of the Bombay Provincial Municipal Corporations Act, 1949. Petitioner No. 2 is its Commissioner. Respondent Gujarat Electricity Board (hereinafter referred to as the 'Board') is constituted under Section 5 of the Electricity (Supply) Act, 1848 (hereinafter referred to as the 'Supply Act'). Petitioners have filed this petition challenging the revision of grid tariff by the Board under notice dated February 9, 1984 given to five licensees including the Corporation in the State of Gujarat. By the said notice, the Board intimated to all the licenses that the Board had decided to revise the existing grid tariff applicable to the generating and distributing licensees served by the Board in the State of Gujarat as per Appendix I and Appendix II attached to the said notice and that the said revised grid tariff would be made applicable for supply of electricity to the licensees as and from May 11, 1984. Revision of the grid tariff is challenged on several grounds which shall be dealt with hereafter.

2. The Corporation is a licensee licensed under the provisions of the Indian Electricity Act, 1910 (hereinafter referred to as the 'Electricity Act') to supply electrical energy to the area covered by the licence which is a part of the area within the present municipal limits of the Corporation. It may be mentioned here that at one tvoe the Corporation or Baroda Municipality was generating and supplying electrical energy to all the consumers within the mentioned here that at one time the Corporation of Baroda Municipality was the area of supply remained the same and that is how the Corporation is supplying electrical energy to the consumers only in that area which originally formed part of the municipal limits and not the entire area which is at present within the municipal limits. In the remaining part of the area within the Municipal limits of the Corporation electrical energy is supplied by the Board. The Corporation is now not generating electrical energy but solely depends upon the Board for the electrical energy which it supplies to its consumers. In other words, the Corporation does not generate electrical energy, but it merely distributes electrical energy which it receives from the Board to its consumers. It would thus appear that there are two sets of consumers within the municipal limits of the Corporation - one set which is served by the Corporation, while the other which is served by the Board.

3. There are five licensees who are granted licences under the Electricity Act in the State of Gujarat. Out of five licensees, two namely the Corporation and Karjan Nagar Panchayat are local authorities, two are companies, namely, Ahmedabad Electricity Company Limited and Surat Electricity Company Limited and the remaining fifth is Kandla Port Trust. Out of these five licensees, only one licensee namely Ahmedabad Electricity Company Limited generates electricity, while remaining four licensees purchase electricity from the Board and distribute it amongst its consumers. Even in the case of Ahmedabad Electricity Company Limited, its generating capacity is not sufficient to meet with the demand of electricity within its area of supply and that Company also purchases very substantial quantity of electricity from the Board.

4. The Board is empowered to fix tariff known as 'grid tariff' under Section 46 of the Supply Act and the regulations called Gujarat Electricity Board (Grid Tariff) Regulations 1960 (hereinafter referred to as the Regulations) applicable to the incensees. The Consumer Education & Research Centre, Ahmedabad and others had filed a special civil application being Special Civil Application No. 3692 of 1979, challenging vires of certain provisions of the Supply Act and validity of a tariff framed by the Board and brought into operation with effect from November 1, 1978. By an order dated February 6, 1978, made on the said Special Civil Application, this Court had direction that during the pendency of the said Special Civil Application, the Board should not without the leave of this Court increase its tariff except to the extent of supplying fuel adjustment clause. The Board, however, in view of continuously mounting expenses and cost of inputs made application to this Court from time to time for premission to increase the tariff and this Court has made such orders permitting the Board to increase tariff from time to time. Last such increase was permitted by an order dated April 6, 1984. By this order, I am told, the Board, was permitted to revise the tariff in accordance with the notice given by it on February 9, 1984, referred to above. By this notice, dated February 9, 1984, the Board sought to increase the tariff applicable to High Tension (H.T. for short) consumers, consumers consuming 50 K.W. and above governed under LTP-3 and licensees as defined in the Supply Act. All licensees are supplied electricity by the Board at high tension that is at a voltage of more than 1 Kv. (1000 Volts). The revised tariff provides for increase in demand time of use charges and energy charges. The revised tariff is also seasonal in that one tariff is applicable for the period from May to October and another for the period from November to April. The said revised grid tariff is made applicable for bulk supply of electricity to the licensees as and from May 11, 1984. It is this increase in tariff which is sought to be challenged by the Corporation by this petition.

5. The main relief which is sought by the Corporation in this petition is that the Board should be directed not to levy and recover revised tariff from the petitioner Corporation so far as electricity supplied by it to industrial consumers having less than SO KW load, residential and domestic consumers, agricultural consumers and for street light is concerned. The relief sought by the Corporation would indicate that it was not challenging the increase in grid/tariff as stated above as a whole, but its grievance is that such increase should be applied to H.T. consumers and consumers consuming 50 KW and above of electricity.

6. It is contended on behalf of the Corporation that the Board has no authority to impose '(1) time of use charges, and (2) seasonal charges' under the revised grid tariff. The Board has levied additional charge of 6 paise per unit for the energy consumed during two peak periods that is from 7-00 Hours to 11-00 Hours and 17-00 Hours to 21-00 Hours. This additional charge is described as 'time of use' charge. Again there is one tariff applicable for the period from May to October and another for the period from November to April and this is described as 'seasonal charge'. These charges namely time of use charge and the seasonal charge are fixed keeping in view the consumption of electrical energy 'during the peak hours in a day time and seasons. It is stated that consumption during the periods from 7.00 A.M. to 11.00 A.M. and 5.00 P.M. to 9.00 P.M. is highest and therefore, they are called 'peak hours'. It is to restrict consumption during these peak hours that additional charge as stated above is levied. Similarly, more electrical energy is consumed in one season as compared to the other and keeping this consumption in view tariff according to season is fixed. It is however contended on behalf of the Corporation that there is no provision in the Supply Act or the Regulations which empowers the Board to time of use charges or seasonal charges. On the other hand contention of the Board is that tariff for such charges are fixed is in accordance with the provisions of Section 46 of the Supply Act and the Regulations.

7. Section 46 of the Supply Act provides for the Grid Tariff and roads as under:

46. The Grid Tariff. - (1) A tariff to be known as the Grid Tariff shall, in accordance with any regulations made in this behalf, be fixed from time to time by the Board in respect of each area for which a scheme is in force, and tariffs fixed under this section may, if the Board thinks fit, differ for different areas.

(2) Without prejudice to the provisions of Section 47, the Grid Tariff shall apply to sales of electricity by the Board to licensees where so required under any of the First, Second and Third Schedules, and shall subject as herinafter provided, also be applicable to sales of electricity by the Board to licensees in other cases:

Provided that if in any such other case, it appears to the Board that, having regard to the extent of the supply required, the transmission expenses involved in affording the supply are higher than those allowed in fixing the Grid Tariff, the Board may make such additional charges as it considers appropriate.

(3) The Grid Tariff shall be so framed as to include as part of the charge, and show separately a fixed kilowatt charges component and am running, charges component: Provided the if in respect of any area the electricity to be sold by the Board is wholly or substantially derived from hydro-electric sources, the running charges component may be omitted.

(4) The fixed kilowatt charges component in the Grid Tariff may be framed so as to vary with the magnitude of maximum demand.

(5) Where only a portion of a licensee's maximum demand for the purposes of his undertaking is chargeable at the Grid Tariff, the price payable for that portion shall not be greater than the average price which would have been payable had the whole of the said maximum demand of the licensee been chargeable at the Grid Tariff.

(6) The Grid Tariff may contain provisions for-.(a) adjustment of price having regard to the power factor of supply taken or the cost of fuel or both;

(b) a minimum charge related to a past or prospective demand of a licensee on the Board.

(7) The Grid Traiff may contain such other terms and conditions, not. Inconsistent with this Act and the regulations, as the Board thinks fit.

The Board, it would appear, is empowered to fix a tariff known as grid tariff in accordance with the Regulations made in this behalf. Sub-section (3) of Section 46 lays down that the grid tariff shall be so framed as to include as part of the charges component. Sub-section (7) of Section 46 lays down that the grid tariff may contain such other terms and conditions not inconsistent with the Act and the Regulations as the Board thinks fit. The grid tariff may also contain provision for adjustment of price having regard to the power factor of supply taken or the cost of fuel or both as provided in Sub-section (6) of Section 46. Ir would thus appear that Section 46 gives the discretion to the Board lo frame grid tariff depending upon various factors. Regulation 7 of the Regulations lays down that the grid tariff shall be so framed as to include all costs of generation, purchase and transmission of power supplied to the licensees in an area for which as scheme is in force together with such proportion as may be determined by the Board in the case of each area depending on the local conditions of the area of other expenses incurred by the Board in implementation and performance of the general duty, imposed on it under the Act, of promoting the co-ordinated development in economical manner Regulation 8 provides that the grid tariff shall comprise two components, fixed charge component based on KW or KVA demand and running charge component based on energy used. The fixed charge component may be based wholly or partly on the fixed and overhead costs, while the running charge component may be based on the running costs plus such of the fixed and overhead costs as have not been included in the fixed charge component. The fixed charge component may include supply of free kilowatt hours for payment of the fixed charge. The fixed charge component may be subject to power factor adjustment. Regulation 9 provides that suitable blocks may be provided in the maximum demand, or in the energy consumption, or in both so as to vary the charges with the magnitude of the demand and/or consumption. The question is: Do the above provisions empower the board to fix tariff according to the hours of consumption hours and seasons?

8. There is nothing in the provisions of Section 46 or the Regulations which prevent or preclude the Board from fixing tariff according to the hours of consumption or season. The charges described as time of use charges or seasonal charges are nothing but the charges for consumption of electrical energy. These charges are fixed according to the quantum of energy consumed. It is true that different charges are levied for different periods of hours or seasons; but that does not change the nature of levy or the charge. The charge is and retains for the consumption of electrical energy. Under Section 46(3) and Regulation 8 of the Regulations, one of the components of the grid tariff is running charge and running charge is the charge which the consumer has to pay for the quantum of energy consumed by him. This charge it need not be stated is different from the fixed charge based on KW or KVA demand. In other words, Section 46 and regulation 8 clearly empower the Board to fix the running charge. There are no restrictions on fixing this running charge. In other words, that wide discretion is given to the Board in fixing the running charge. But apart from that regulation 9 interim provides for suitable blocks. As pointed out above, it lays down that suitable block may be provided in the maximum demand or in the energy consumption, or in both, so as to vary the charges with the magnitude of the demand and/or consumption. It would thus appear that the Board is empowered to provide for suitable blocks for fixing tariff according to the magnitude of demand and/or consumption. Such blocks are not confined to units of consumption as urged on behalf of the Corporation. It was urged on behalf of the Corporation that regulation 9 permits the Board only to provide for suitable blocks depending upon energy consumed. For example, there may be one block of 1000 units consumed, second block of 1000 to 2000 units consumed, third block for 2000 to 3000 units consumed and so on. Apart from such blocks corelated with consumption of units, it is urged no other blocks can be devised by the Board on the basis of peak hours of consumption or seasons. There is nothing in Section 46 or regulations to support this contention raised on behalf of the Corporation. On the contrary, as pointed out above Regulation 9 clearly provides for blocks in the maximum demand or in the energy consumption or in both so as to vary with the magnitude of the demand and/or consumption. Blocks can be so devise as to take care of the magnitude of the demand and/or consumption. This clearly indicate that while fixing tariff, the Board can revise or provide for blocks of time or for season. In other words, it is open to the Board to fix tariff according to the consumption during certain periods or season. As already pointed out above, Section 46 of the Supply Act empowers the Board to fix running charge subject only to the Regulations. Since the Regulations do not restrict or limit the power of the Board to fix running charge in the manner suggested on behalf of the Corporation, there is nothing to prevent the Board from levying time of use charge or seasonal charge. In this connection, it may be pointed out that Sub-section (4) of Section 23 of the Electricity Act which was inserted in 1922, provided that any charges made by licensee under Clause (c) Sub-section (3) of Section 23 may be based upon and vary in accordance with any one or more of the following considerations namely, (i) the consumer's load/factor, or (ii) the power factor of his load, or (iii) his total consumption of energy during any stated period, is required. Section 23, of the Electricity Act no doubt does not apply to the Board, but reference is made to it only to show that as far back as in the year 1922, fixing of charges on the basis of total consumption of energy during the stated period or hours at which supply of energy was required, was permissible under law. In other words, fixing of tariff on the basis of consumption of energy during any stated period or hours at which supply of energy was required, was an accepted method of fixing tariff. It was not necessary to make provision of Section 23 of the Electricity Act applicable to the Board, since it has been given wide discretion in fixing the tariff. It was pointed out that another countries also tariff of electrical energy was fixed on the basis of period of consumption and the season. In this connection my attention was drawn to paras 30 and 31 of the Electricity Supply Hand Book 1982 published by The Electrical Times, London, wherein Industrial Maximum Demand Tariffs fixed in United Kingdom are stated. It is clear from the tables given in the said Hand Book that there were different charges for different seasons for the consumption of electrical energy. In its report of the Committee on Power headed by V.G. Rajadhyaksha in para 5.69 on page 203 of its report has stated that one of the factors to be kept in mind in working out tariff was to recognise that peak hour consumption adds directly to the demand on capacity. In para 5.70, the Committee recommended that time differentiating meters should be installed for all bulk consumers who take loads of I MW and above, so that their peak hour consumption and off-peak consumption can be measured and charges levied accordingly. The said report of the Committee was published in September 1980. This report also indicates that levy of charges according to peak hours consumption is one of the recognised methods of levy of charges.

9. In the light of what is discussed above, I find myself unable to uphold the Corporation's consumption that the Board had no power to levy time of use charges and seasonal charges.

10. It was next contended that the Board could not have increased the grid tariff without obtaining the sanction of the State Government under Section 58 of the Supply Act. I am unable see how Section 58 which deals with power to direct amortisation and tariffs polices of licensees being local authorities has any relevance so far as increase no grid tariff by the Board is concerned Section 58 lays down that the Board or where no Board is constituted under the Supply Act, the State Government shall have power to direct the amortisation and tariff policies of any licensee, being a local authority, with respect to his licensed undertaking in such manner as the Board or the State Government, as the case may be, after giving the local authority a reasonable opportunity of being heard considers expedient for the purposes of the Act, and the licensee being a local authority, the provisions of any other law or of any rules made or directions given thereunder notwithstanding, shall give effect to any such directions of the Board or the State Government, as the case may be. Provided that the Board shall not issue any directions under the said section expect after obtaining the price approval the State Government. It is no doubt true that under the proviso to Section 58, the Board cannot issue any direction under that section except after obtaining prior approval of the State Government. There is however, no question of amortising or tariff policy of any licensee involved when the Board increases the grid tariff. Therefore, the question of obtaining sanction of the State Government before increasing grid tariff does not arise. Provisions of Section 58 are not attracted at all and the contention of the Corporation is totally misconceived, but apart from that in the affidavit dated December 22, 1984, of the Commercial Manager of the Board, it is stated that the Board had in fact submitted, its proposal for revision of tariff to the State Government and the State Government had approved the revision prior to the introduction thereof. There is no reason to disbelieve this statement made on behalf of the Board and, therefore, it would appear that even if sanction of the State Government was necessary for revision of grid tariff, such sanction has been given by the State Government.

11. It was next contended that under Regulation 5 of the Regulations, revised grid tariff could not become operative without three months' prior notice to the licensees concerned it was urged that it was only on April 6, 1984 that the Division Bench of this Court had by an order passed below Civil Application No. 139 of 1984 permitted the Board, to increase or revise the grid tariff and therefore the notice as contemplated by Regulation 5 could not have been given prior to April 6, 1984, and the Board, having not given three months' notice as required by Regulation 5, after this Court, sanctioned revision of grid tariff on April 6,1984 increase in the grid tariff is invalid and charges for consunption of electrical energy, cannot be recovered on the basis of such grid tariff. I do not see any merit in this contention. The permission granted by this Court to the Board to revise grid tariff on April 6, 1984, has no relevance so far as Regulation 5 which provides for three months' notice is concerned. It is true that in view of the interim relief granted by this Court in Special Civil Application No. 3692 of 1979, the Board could not have revised the tariff without permission of this court; but that does not mean that the board could, not have given three months notice required by Regulation 5 before obtaining such permission. It is not disputed that the Board has given notice for revision of tariff on February 9, 1984 and revised tariff was brought into force from May 11, 1984. In other words, three months' notice as required by Regulation 5 was given by the Board and in the mean time it had obtained permission of this Court as stated above. In my opinioin, therefore, the Board had complied with the provisions contained in Regulation 5 before revising the grid tariff. It was also urged on behalf of the Corporation that the revised tariff could not have been brought into force also on account of filing of suit being Civil Suit No. 793 of 1984 in the Court of the Civil Judge, Senior Division at Baroda by a consumer. It was pointed out that in this suit, the plaintiff had obtained an interim relief directing the Corporation to maintain status quo in regard to the tariff and, therefore, the Corporation could not have increased the tariff and consequently the revision of tariff by the Board could not have become effective. I fail to see as to now interim relief obtained by a consumer against the Corporation in a suit in which the Board was not a party, would in any way affect the Board's power or authority to review the tariff. It was the Corporation which was required to maintain status quo and not the Board. But apart from that, it was conceded that later on interim relief granted in favour of the consumer was vacated by the trial Court and the suit itself was disposed of. It is true that according to the Corporation appeal against disposal or the suit is pending but that does not and cannot have any effect on the revision of tariff by the Board. Therefore, challenge to revision of tariff on the above ground must fail.

12. It was next urged that revision of tariff violated Article 14 of the Constitution inasmuch as it was (1) discriminatory and (2) arbitrary and irrational. Revision was alleged to be discriminatory on the ground that two categories of consumers of electrical energy who were within municipal limits of the Corporation were not given same treatment. As pointed out above, in a part of the city of Baroda, electrical energy is supplied by the Corporation, while in the other remaining part it is supplied by the Board. It is submitted that so far as consumers directly taking supply of electrical energy from the Board are concerned, only those consumers who are H.T. Consumers and the consumers consuming 50 K.W. and above governed under LTA-3 have to pay time of use charges and seasonal tariff. However, so far as the consumers within the area of supply by Corporation are concerned, all such consumers will have to bear the burden of increased tariff. It is submitted that the Corporation is being given the same treatment which is given to H.T. consumers and, therefore, it will have to pay increased tariff on the basis of time of use charge and seasonal charge. These charges have to be borne by the Corporation for the entire electrical energy received by it for distribution to all categories of consumers which include industrial consumers having less than 50 KW load, residential and domestic consumers and agricultural consumers. It is also submitted that part of the electrical energy received by the Corporation is used for street lighting. However, since the Corporation is treated as H.T. consumers for the purpose of revised tariff, it will have to bear the increased burden which in turn will have to be borne by all its consumers' including the industrial consumers having less than 50 KW load, residential and domestic consumers, and agricultural consumers who are within the area of supply of electrical energy by the Corporation. On the other hand, industrial consumers having less than 50 KW load, residential and domestic consumers and agricultural consumers within the area of supply of electrical energy by the Board, though within the municipal limits of the Corporation, will not have to bear such burden. This was, therefore, a clear case of discrimination violating Article 14 of the Constitution. 1 am afraid, cannot accept this contention. The consumers within the area of supply of the Board and the consumers within the area of supply of the Corporation, cannot be said to be similarly situated. One gets direct supply from the Board, while the other gets supply from the Corporation. Each of the said categories of consumers is in a different area though so far as municipal limits are concerned, they are in the same area. For the purpose of fixing of tariff what is relevant is not the area within the municipal limits, but the area covered by the licence. There are two licensees operating within the municipal limits of city of Baroda - one is the Corporation and the other is the Board. The consumers in the area of supply by the Board cannot be compared with the consumers in the area of supply by the Corporation. Since two categories of consumers are not similarly situated, the question of discrimination violating Article 14 does not arise. But apart from that, it is not the Board which is giving discriminatory treatment to the aforesaid two categories of consumers. So far as the Board is concerned, it is supplying electrical energy to the licensees and persons other than licensees. So far as licensees are concerned, it is not disputed that same treatment is given to all the licensees. It may be recalled that there are five licensees in the State of Gujarat, one of whom is the Corporation. So far as those five licensees are concerned, there is uniform tariff. So far as direct consumers of the Board are concerned it is not disputed that there is a uniform tariff. Tlie question of discrimination as urged by the Corporation arises only when one compares the consumers of the Board with the consumers of the licensee. It is the Corporation's case that since it will have to pass on the burden of increased tariff to all its consumers, the consumers within the area of its supply will have to pay more for the electrical energy than what the consumers within the area of supply by the Board will pay, though both are within the municipal limits of city of Baroda. The Corporation is not shown to be under obligation to pass on the increased burden to all the consumers. How to distribute and pass on the burden amongst its consumers is a matter for the Corporation to decide and if it chooses to throw burden on its consumers, the Board cannot be held responsible for the same. It would be open to the Corporation to so adjust the increase that burden does not fall on the industrial consumers having less than 50 KW load, residential and domestic consumers, agricultural consumers etc. If as a result of increase in tariff by the Corporation the consumers within its area of supply pay more than the consumers in the area of supply by the Board. I fail to see how the action of the Board in revising the tariff can be said to be discriminatory. Therefore, even assuming that consumers within the area of supply by the Corporation will have to pay more for the electrical energy than the consumers within the area of supply by the Board, there is no violation of Article 14 the Constitution on the ground that the action of the Board is discriminatory. The decision of the Supreme Court in W.U.P.E. Power & Supply Co. v. State of U.P. : [1968]3SCR312 on which reliance was placed on behalf of the Corporation is of no assistance to the Corporation. That was the case in which U.P. Electricity Board was directed by the State Government to supply electrical energy ?irectly to third respondent who was within the area in respect of which licence was granted to the petitioner Company. As a result of the order of the State Government, the U.P. Electricity Board was required to supply electricity to the third respondent at rates lower than the rates at which electricity was supplied by (sic to) the petitioner Company. Petitioner Company was thus charged at higher rate and consequently it had as a distributor to charge higher rate from its consumer with the result that the third respondent was to get energy at a substantially lower rate than the consumer including other industrial establishments in the area in which the petitioner Company had a licence to distribute electrical energy. It was under these circumstances that the Supreme Court held that the direction given by the State Government under notification issued by it resulted in discrimination between third respondent on one hand and other consumers on the other as also between third respondent and the petitioner Company. In the instant case as pointed out above, two categories of consumers adverted to above are not in the same area covered by the same licensee. Consumers of the same licensee are not treated differently. Two categories of consumers who are compared are supplied electrical energy by two different licensees namely the Corporation and the Board and, therefore, as already observed above, they cannot be compared and charge of discrimination is unsustainable. In my opinion, therefore, decision of the Supreme Court in W.U.P.E. Power & Supply Co. (supra) cannot be of any assistance to the Corporation.

13. I also do not find any substance in the allegation that the revised tariff is arbitrary or irrational. As already observed above, levy of additional charge on the basis of time of use and seasons does not in any way contravene the provisions of Section 46 of the Supply Act or the Regulations. In fact, as pointed out above, the method of charging based upon consumption of energy during the stated period or hours at which supply of energy is required or season is well recognised method. Tariff on such method is not levied not only in India, but other countries also, (such as United Kingdom) also (as already observed above. Even the high power Committee headed by V.G. Rajadhyakaha recommended levy of charge on the basis of peak hour consumption and off peack consumption. Consumption of energy is more during certain periods in a day and/or in certain season and it is in order to restrict consumption during such periods or season that additional charge is levied. Since there is no prohibition against levy of such charge and since levy of such charge is in vogue since many years, the action of the Board to levy time of use charge and seasonal charge can hardly be described as arbitrary.

14. There is also nothing irrational about levy of such charge. It was however urged that if the Corporation was required to pass on the burden of increased levy on to its consumers, burden would be 0.6 Paise per unit on each consumer and if such increased tariff was to be recovered only from H.T. consumers, burden of such consumers would be 14 Paise per unit. If burden is to be thrown on all the consumers, the Corporation would be required to instal meters to record time of use charges at different periods; and the cost of installation of such meters would be enormous. It was, therefore, urged that levy of revised or increased tariff as stated above is irrational. There is no merit in this contention also. It is entirely a matter for the Corporation to decide in what manner it should pass on the burden of the increased tariff to its consumers. If the Board is within its rights to increase the tariff, what burden it will cast on the Corporation or its consumers is not relevant. As admitted by the Corporation itself increased burden can be thrown on H.T. consumers and industrial consumers having load of more than 50 KW. If that course is adopted by the Corporation, the question of installing meters for all the consumers as urged by the Corporation would not arise. But even if such a question arises, levy being legal it is of no consequence. In the view which I am taking, the question of violation of directive principles contained in Article 38 of the Constitution also does not arise.

Challenge to revised grid tariff thus fails on all the grounds urged on behalf of the Corporation.

15. In the result, this petition fails and is rejected. Rule discharged with no order as to costs.


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