Punjab and Haryana High Court hasstayed orders by the District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum (DCDRF) and a civil court in cases involving alleged theft of power in Haryana on the grounds that the matter was outside the ambit of their jurisdiction.
The interim stay orders were recently issued by HC in two separate cases opened on the basis of writ petitions filed by the Uttar Haryana Bijli Vitran Nigam.
HC said that neither DCDRF nor the civil court had any jurisdiction to entertain disputes pertaining to unauthorised use of power and electricity theft as defined under sections 126 and 135 of the Indian Electricity Act, 2003.
In the first case DCDRF, Yamuna Nagar, had given relief to a resident of Yamuna Nagar and directed the Nigam to restore power supply upon deposit of 40 per cent of the disputed amount.
In the second case, a Civil Court at Ambala had directed the Nigam not to disconnect a consumer's power supply once he deposited 50 per cent of the disputed amount.
The Nigam had registered cases of power theft against the two consumers.
While staying the order of the Ambala Civil Court, Justice Rajiv Narain Raina observed that such courts were entertaining these suits and passing orders of injunction against demand notices, etc. raised by the power distribution company.
But such cases are patently out of their jurisdiction as per Section 145 of the electricity Act, the judge noted.
Nigam sources said today that the interim stay orders would affect about 8,000 similar cases filed against the Uttar Haryana Bijli Vitran Nigam and Dakshin Haryana Bijli Vitran Nigam ? the two state-owned power distribution companies operating in north and south Haryana, respectively.
The two distribution companies have asked their field officers to defend cases of a similar nature pending before various DCDRF and Civil Courts in the state on the basis of HC's interim order.