New Delhi: The Delhi High Court on Friday directed authorities to treat as representation, a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) challenging the method adopted by electricity companies for calculating the cumulative electricity consumption charges during the 4 to 5 month period of lockdown amidst the outbreak of the deadly COVID-19.
“All persons are not poor, some are having malls etc, why are you worrying about their bills,” said a division bench of the High Court presided by Chief Justice D.N. Patel and Justice Prateek Jalan while also noting that the Delhi Electricity Regularity Commission (DERC) has not been made a party in the plea.
While the matter was being heard through video conferencing, advocate Tushar Mahajan appearing for the petitioner appraised the bench that the method adopted by respondents has cast a burden on all the poor and middle class residents of Delhi.
“The mere application of the method has resulted in an automatic increase in the electricity bills by atleast 5-15 per cent for each month especially during the months of March and April etc. per consumer depending upon their individual consumption,” the advocate said.
The petitioner then requested the bench to pass directions that the writ be taken as a representation by the authorities following which the bench passed the order saying, “The present writ petition is disposed off with the directions that it be treated as a representation by appropriate authorities and shall be decided in accordance with the law, rules, regulations and government policies.”
The petitioner had also challenged the entire demand of the cumulative electricity consumption charges raised by Respondents all at once for being contrary to Regulation 38 Sub-Regulation 8 of the Delhi Electricity Regulatory Commission.
The plea has also sought court’s direction to the respondents to give the option to every user for paying their electricity bills in installments based on the number of the billing cycles upon which their bill is raised in accordance with Regulation 38 Sub-Regulation 8 of the DERC Regulations.
“The method adopted for calculating the electricity bill for the residents of Delhi during the months of lockdown is completely unjust and arbitrary. It has caused immense hardships for the residents of Delhi during this financially tough time. It has also lead to unfair gains of more than Rs 100 crore to the BSES Yamuna and BSES Power Ltd,” the plea filed by petitioner Vijay Mahajan said.