Taking serious note of a 'threatening' letter by the Dakshinanchal (Agra) discom's lawyer, UP Electricity Regulatory Commission (UPERC) Chairman Vijoy Kumar has slapped a notice on the lawyer and discom MD Kripal Singh under the IPC provisions, asking them why he should not initiate criminal proceedings against them.
On the other hand, the Allahabad High Court on Tuesday asked the UPERC to keep its order imposing Rs 1 lakh fine on Agra discom MD for willful flouting of tariff orders in abeyance till May 18.
Kumar has asked the MD as well his lawyer to furnish the reply by May 31 to his satisfaction failing which he will be free to initiate legal proceedings against them under Section 228 of the IPC, for deliberately insulting and intimidating him by way of writing the letter. The Section 228 of IPC deals with intentional insult or interference to a public servant sitting in judicial proceedings and attracts a punishment of three months imprisonment. UPERC enjoys the status of a judicial body.
Irked over the UPERC's imposing of Rs 1 lakh penalty on him in case of his failure to give the satisfactory reply to the Commission by May 2 to him, Agra discom MD Kripal Singh had, through his lawyer, faxed a letter to Kumar on Monday. The language of the letter as Kumar said was insulting, intimidating and objectionable. The lawyer had allegedly asked the Chairman to withdraw the penalty order against Kripal Singh and also give in writing that consumers' complaints against the discom did not hold any water.
It may be pointed out that the Commission, in its order on April 23, had directed the Agra discom MD to submit his explanation as regards the sub-committee’s report by May 2 and show cause why the sub-committee’s findings be not accepted and appropriate orders be passed against the MD, for willful violation of the Commission’ directives and tariff orders to the harassment of consumers. The order warned if the MD did not send his reply by May 2, a penalty of Rs 1 lakh would be imposed on him on May 3.
Kumar confirmed about his issuing a notice to the Agra discom MD and his lawyer under the Section 228 of IPC. "I have asked them why I should not initiate legal proceedings against them for sending an insulting letter to me," he said, adding, "as per rules, I have given them 30 days time for sending the reply."
Meanwhile, in another development the Lucknow Bench of the Allahabad High Court asked the UPERC to keep its Rs 1 lakh fine order inoperative till May 18. The HC asked the Commission to give more papers and time to the discom MD as required by him to enable him to file his reply. Kripal Singh had challenged the very constitution of the sub-committee that visited Agra to examine consumers' grievances against the discom and on whose report the UPERC had passed an order against him. He also contented that the Commission did not provide sufficient information/papers to him before passing the order. UPERC counsel IV Singh, however, argued that the appeal against the Commission's orders could be filed only at the Tribunal set up in Delhi. Moreover, he submitted that the Commission had only issued a show cause notice to the MD and not passed any detailed order which he could challenge. The Court will hold the final hearing in the case on May 18.