Discoms are bound to recover arrears before a tenant vacates the premises to ensure that the liability does not fall on the landlord or subsequent tenant, the Delhi high court has ruled.
The high court warned that failure by the discoms to discharge their duties would cause serious impediments in the transfer of properties as people will hesitate to acquire any new property owing to fear of inheriting unwanted liabilities.
If the discoms are permitted to so allow the arrears of electricity charges to accumulate and do not take timely action for recovery from the person liable and then coerce the subsequent occupant to pay the same, it would be a serious clog on transferability of immovable properties.
"People would hesitate in acquiring properties for the fear of the unknown liability of electricity dues," the court said. Justice Rajiv Sahai Endlaw passed the judgement on a petition filed by the owner of a posh property in South-Extension-II market of South Delhi.
"Distribution Companies if they are cautioned on the likely vacation of the property by the consumer liable for power dues are obliged to ensure that the dues do not accumulate and are recovered so that they do not fall on the subsequent occupant," the high court said.
The court said the BSES Rajdhani Power Ltd cannot be negligent in recovering the dues especially after being informed by the landlord on tenant's move to vacate the premises. The landlord had sought the court's intervention, directing the discom to recover the due amount of Rs 55 lakh from the tenant.
The landlord and tenant had been in a legal row following which the tenant left the premises. The landlord then moved the High Court. However, he later learnt about the pending power bill filed the petition seeking a direction to the discom to recover the money from the tenant.