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Bharatkumar Thakordas Manjarwala and ors. Vs. Gujarat Electricity Board and ors. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectElectricity
CourtGujarat High Court
Decided On
Judge
Reported in(1986)1GLR291
AppellantBharatkumar Thakordas Manjarwala and ors.
RespondentGujarat Electricity Board and ors.
Excerpt:
- - even without there being any government direction, if the board raises an objection on the ground that the building in which the electricity supply is sought for, has been constructed in contravention of the provisions of urban land (ceiling & regulation) act and in contravention of other relevant statutes, the board would be perfectly within its rights to raise such objections. on the contrary it will be the duty of the board to raise such objections and refuse the electricity supply to such persons who contravene the provisions of urban land (ceiling & regulation) act which is a beneficial legislation enacted by the parliament with a view to see that the scarce resources of the nation are put to the best use of the common good of the society......on the board to supply electricity to the consumers who have contravened the provisions of urban land (ceiling & regulation) act and the provisions of bombay land revenue code. in the instant case, is not shown that the construction put up the petitioners is in accordance with the provisions of the bombay land revenue code and in accordance with the provisions of urban land (ceiling & regulation) act. whether there is any direction by the government or not is immaterial. even without there being any government direction, if the board raises an objection on the ground that the building in which the electricity supply is sought for, has been constructed in contravention of the provisions of urban land (ceiling & regulation) act and in contravention of other relevant statutes, the.....
Judgment:

A.P. Ravani, J.

1. The petitioners are occupying some land buildings constructed thereon in the sim of village Vadod which is situated within urban agglomeration area of Surat. The petitioners appear to have installed power looms in such buildings. The petitioners pray that the respondent Electricity Board be directed to give electricity connection to them. It is contended that they have put up construction on the land owned and occupied by them after obtaining necessary permission from the Grant Panchayat concerned. Moreover, the ownors and occupiers of plot No. 1 of the same survey number and plot No. 5 of survey No. 99 are also given electricity connection by the Board. They are similarly situated and, therefore, the Board being 'State' cannot deny the equal treatment to the petitioners.

2. It is made clear in the affidavit-in-reply filed on behalf of the Board that as far as the owners and, occupiers of plot No. 1 of the same survey number and that of plot No. 5 of survey No. 99 are concerned, the Board is contemplating course of action to be adopted by it in such cases. The argument that because some other persons are given connections unlawfully or in contravention of the policy of the Government and the Board, the same course should be adopted by the Board cannot be accepted. No one has a right to claim equal benefit which flows from unlawful action. Article 14 does not give right to claim equal benefits from unlawful and illegal actions. At any rate, the Court exercising its powers under Article 226 of the Constitution of India would not and ordinarily should not entertain such claims and grant reliefs on such basis. Article 14 of the Constitution of India guarantees equality before law and equal protection of law. It does not guarantee equality for the wrongful benefits or extension of equal protection granted illegally. The Courts are meant to enforce law and are not meant to perpetuate and permeate contravention of laws. If this is done. Courts will cease to be an instrument of enforcing rule of law and will become an instrument of enforcing and extending illegalities. At least, this is not the object of Article 14 of the Constitution of India. No one can claim fundamental right to be benefitted wrongly and in unlawful manner. Even if one may claim, Court exercising power under Article 226 of the Constitution of India, in its discretion, would never extend its hand of help in favour of illegalities.

3. It is next contended that the petitioners have made payment to the Board on February, 20, 1985 while the Board received objections from the Government on February, 28 1985. The Government directed the Board that whenever local authority has submitted timely objections with regard to the nature of construction and the user of the land, the electricity connection should not be given. It is submitted on behalf of the petitioners that in the instant case, since the payment was received by the Board prior to the date of issuance of directions by the Government and that the objections were received from the District Panchayat, Surat some time in March, 1985, it cannot be said that there was timely objection from the local authority. The argument cannot be accepted. Timely objection in the context would mean any time before the grant of electricity connections not any time before the acceptance of deposit amount. Hence, this contention has also got to be rejected.

4. On the basis of the provisions of Indian Electricity Act, 1910 and Electricity (Supply) Act, 1948, it, submitted that it is the statutory obligation of the Board to supply electricity to all the persons wherever the Board is otherwise operating. True, it is the statutory obligation of the Electricity Board to supply electricity to the consumers. But there cannot be any statutory objection on the Board to supply electricity to the consumers who have contravened the provisions of Urban Land (Ceiling & Regulation) Act and the provisions of Bombay Land Revenue Code. In the instant case, is not shown that the construction put up the petitioners is in accordance with the provisions of the Bombay Land Revenue Code and in accordance with the provisions of Urban Land (Ceiling & Regulation) Act. Whether there is any direction by the Government or not is immaterial. Even without there being any Government direction, if the Board raises an objection on the ground that the building in which the electricity supply is sought for, has been constructed in contravention of the provisions of Urban Land (Ceiling & Regulation) Act and in contravention of other relevant statutes, the Board would be perfectly within its rights to raise such objections. On the contrary it will be the duty of the Board to raise such objections and refuse the electricity supply to such persons who contravene the provisions of Urban Land (Ceiling & Regulation) Act which is a beneficial legislation enacted by the Parliament with a view to see that the scarce resources of the nation are put to the best use of the common good of the society. In the instant case, there is direction by the State Government which the State Government is empowered to give under Section 78A of the Electricity (Supply) Act, 1948. Therefore, it is obligatory upon the Board to see that the Government direction is complied with. The contention that the Board is not concerned with the dispute of ownership or dispute regarding the authorised or unauthorised construction has, in the facts and circumstances of the case, no merit whatsoever and this contention has also got to be rejected. It may be noted that such constructions are even liable to be pulled down and demolished. The Board which is 'State' cannot be expected to facilitate such illegal activities.

5. It is contended that the Board had accepted deposit and other charges on Feb. 25, 1985. Thereafter, it is not open to the Board to refuse the supply of electricity. This contention is raised on the ground of estoppel. First of all, there is no estoppel against the provisions of statute. Be it noted that under the provisions of Section 78A of the Electricity (Supply) Act, the Government has given direction. The Board is acting as per the directions given by the State Government. Therefore, the contention based on the principles of estoppel cannot be accepted. Further, it may be noted that it is not the case of the petitioners that they have complied with the provisions of Urban Land (Ceiling & Regulation) Act and that of Bombay Land Revenue Code. Though it is not admitted, but it is abundantly clear from the record of the case that the petitioners are seeking electricity connection in a building which is constructed on the land situated within the urban agglomeration area of SUDA. On such land, no construct on could have been made otherwise than in accordance with the provisions of Urban Land (Ceiling & Regulation) Act. No construction on this land could have been made otherwise than in accordance with the provisions of Bombay Land Revenue Code. It is clear from the affidavit-in-reply that it was not within the knowledge of the Board at the time when the Board accepted the deposit amount and other charges that the construction made on the land was unauthorised and unlawful. In the instant case, the Board has only accepted the amount and no further actions have been taken by the Board. Assuming that the Board has even went a step further. In a given case, it might have started to supply electricity and thereafter if it comes to the notice of the Board that the entire construction is illegal and unlawful and the same is in contravention of the provisions of Bombay Land Revenue Code and in contravention of the Urban Land (Ceiling & Regulation) Act even then if it is shown that these facts were not brought to the notice of the Board by the applicant or consumers of electricity as the case may be the Board would not be debarred from disconnecting the electricity on the ground of estoppel. On the contrary, non disclosure of material facts would amount to either suppressio vari and or suggestion falsi meaning thereby, fraud. No one can take advantage of fraud. In the instant case, the argument based on estoppel is, to put in clear terms, amounts to saying as 'allow me to take advantage of fraud which I have committed.' Such a plea cannot he accepted by the Court.

6. No other contention is raised.

Hence petition is rejected. Notice discharged.


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