In a setback to the UP Power Corporation Ltd’s resolve to continue supplying roundthe-clock electricity to a few politically important districts, an adverse high court decree notwithstanding, the Supreme Court has refused to entertain its special leave petition (SLP) against the recent Allahabad high court order that had held discrimination in supply of power on the basis of place of residence as arbitrary and unconstitutional.
An apex court bench comprising justice Chandramauli Kumar Prasad instead directed the UPPCL to go back to the Allahabad high court and file a review petition there, if it so wished.
The court is said to have summarily rejected the UPPCL pleas to get the HC order overturned saying the SLP was not maintainable.
The UPPCL in its SLP had submitted that the high court had sought to overstretch its order by converting two individual petitions into a PIL.
“The corporation argued that the HC order was based on two petitions filed by two cold storages, one from the western and another from eastern UP, complaining that they were not getting adequate power supply. But instead of passing an order on their petitions, the high court passed a general order,” UPPCL sources said.
The SLP also pleaded that the functions related to power supply and its regulation were performed by the UPPCL and the UP Power Transmission Corporation Ltd (UPPTCL) but the court did not give any opportunity to either of the bodies to be heard before passing the judgment.
“The high court only heard MDs of Agra and Varanasi dis-coms under whose jurisdictions the two cold storages were located. But MDs are not responsible to decide the supply hours to a place—a job that is exclusively done by the UPPCL and the UPPTCL,” said the SLP.
Sources said the Supreme Court told the UPPCL to request the high court only to hear its viewpoint if it thought it was not given an opportunity of being heard.
The UPPCL’s problem, however, is that a review petition can be filed only at the same high court bench that had given such a detailed and clear-cut order leaving the corporation’s counsel without a defence.
“Even then, the corporation is preparing to file a review petition in the high court in a day or two, as a final attempt to get permission to go on supplying 24-hour supply to the VIP cities,” sources disclosed.
The HC in its order last week had directed the UPPCL to make equitable distribution of power to all consumers without any discrimination based on place of residence.
The HC bench comprising justice Sudhir Agarwal and Justice Sunita Agarwal observed that continuous supply of 24 hours to certain places and cities like Etawah, Mainpuri, Kannauj, Rampur, Sambhal, Rae Bareli and Amethi was arbitrary and illegal.
It directed the PCL to supply electricity to all the consumers irrespective of place of residence (except the area covered by Taj Trapezium Zone in view of directions of the apex Court).