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HC: Govt should be fined for interfering in DERC matters

The Delhi high court on Tuesday slammed the Delhi government for undermining a regulatory body like the Delhi Electricity Regulatory Commission (DERC) by preventing it from releasing a power tariff order that would have been lesser than the present one.
Hindustan Times | By Harish V Nair, New Delhi
UPDATED ON MAR 09, 2011 01:12 AM IST

The Delhi high court on Tuesday slammed the Delhi government for undermining a regulatory body like the Delhi Electricity Regulatory Commission (DERC) by preventing it from releasing a power tariff order that would have been lesser than the present one.

The court said the government deserved to be fined heavily for the act that resulted in suffering to the common consumer and also wasted precious judicial time.

"While declaring your interdiction illegal, the court should have imposed a cost of Rs 10 lakh on the government. You give rise to the problem which also undermined authority of regulatory bodies,” a bench headed by chief justice Dipak Misra said. “The files show you have messed up things. You interfered with the order and left poor consumers to suffer.”

The court had, on February 18, quashed Delhi government directive to DERC that asked it to seek its approval before issuing the fresh power tariff for the capital calling it "illegal".

The court was hearing a public interest litigation accusing the government of succumbing to pressure from power discoms and "prohibiting release of new tariff approved on April 2, 2010 by the DERC" which it claimed would have been lesser than the present rate.

The PIL said the DERC told the government the discoms were sitting on a combined cash profit of over R300 crore per month and it was time to reduce the power rates.

In the last hearing, government counsel Najmi Waziri had denied the charges and said it only requested DERC to adhere to the national policy.

He said the DERC was only told to consider “uncontrollable costs” like at which power was bought from other states in peak season needed to considered.

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