HC again stays Chandigarh admn’s power privatisation move
The Punjab and Haryana high court on Friday once again stayed the Chandigarh administration’s move to privatise the power department.
Multiple lawyers associated with the case confirmed the development. However, the detailed order from the HC bench of justice Jitendra Chauhan and justice Vivek Puri is awaited.
The order was passed on a fresh plea from the UT Powermen Union, which had approached court stating that opening and finalisation of the tender bids be stopped. It was argued that the administration is not justified in hurrying through the process amid the pandemic.
“State being a ‘welfare state’ is expected to concentrate on the ways and means of saving citizens from the havoc being played by the Covid-19 pandemic,” the plea said, further underlining that the department has been revenue surplus for many years and is supplying 24x7 electricity to the satisfaction of the consumers.
Earlier, on December 1, too, the HC had applied brakes on the privatisation process. However, the UT had approached the Supreme Court, which stayed the HC order and remanded back the case to it.
When asked whether the administration would approach the SC again, UT adviser Manoj Parida said: “Yes we will. We have enough ground.”
The decision to privatise the department was taken on May 12, 2020, after directions from the Centre. The administration has assured the Centre to complete the process by the end of 2020. As many as 17 firms has expressed interest after the administration invited the bids in November.
May 12, 2020: UT decides to privatise the electricity department
November 9: The bids for privatisation invited
December 1: HC orders stay on privatisation process
January 12, 2021: SC stays HC order paving way for privatisation process
February 9: SC remands back matter to HC
April 19: UT announces it will fast-track privatisation process
May 28: HC stays the process again