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HindustanTimes Sat,20 Sep 2014

Government’s 50% bill discount for power protesters lands in HC

Soibam Rocky Singh , Hindustan Times  New Delhi, February 14, 2014
First Published: 01:05 IST(14/2/2014) | Last Updated: 01:07 IST(14/2/2014)

The Arvind Kejriwal-led Delhi government’s decision to provide 50% relief on pending power bills of consumers who had refused to pay up during AAP’s agitation against ‘inflated bills’ has been challenged in the Delhi high court.

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The PIL, filed by advocate Vivek Narayan Sharma on Thursday, sought quashing the city government’s decision to close power theft cases registered against 2,508 consumers during the previous government’s regime.

Sharma told HT that he would mention the PIL before the court on Friday for urgent hearing.

In the PIL, Sharma, contended that such action of the government was like “sponsoring and abetting criminal/terrorism acts and acts against rule of law and the Constitution.”

He said shortly after formation of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), it launched its ‘bijli satyagraha’ against what it alleged were inflated power bills in Delhi. As part of the campaign, Kejriwal urged people of Delhi to stop paying their electricity bills.

On his advice, about 24,036 power consumers in Delhi stopped paying their electricity bills in Delhi, reportedly from October 2012 to December 2013.

During this period, the authorities disconnected a total of 2,508 electricity meters for non-payment of power bills. These people were involved in power theft. The PIL said numerous theft cases were initiated and are pending in the courts.

On February 12, the government took a decision to provide 50% waiver on pending bills of the 24,036 consumers, and pardon the penalties for default.

Claiming that the AAP and its leaders were “enticing the public to follow no rules”, the PIL said the estimated loss to public exchequer because of the move was around Rs. 6 crore.


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