Wednesday, October 13, 2010

HC: Jurisdiction of JERC for Goa, Union territories upheld

Jurisdiction of JERC for Goa, Union territories upheld

PTI | 09:10 PM,Oct 12,2010

Chennai, Oct 12 (PTI): The Madras High Court has upheld the jurisdiction of a Joint Electricity Regulatory Commission (JERC) for the state of Goa and Union Territories to entertain applications for determination of tariff. Dismissing a batch of petitions by AKS Alloys Private Ltd and 31 other High Tension (HT) consumers of Puducherry, Justice K Venkataraman said a conjoint reading of clause (1) and (5) of Sect.83 of the Electricity Act made it clear that a Joint Commission may be constituted by an agreement as envisaged under clause (1) and by authorisation of all participating States as envisaged under clause (5). 

When the Commission was constituted by authorisation, the question of constituting the body comprising one member from each of the participating states and Union Territories did not arise, the Judge held. The Centre, if so authorised by all participating states, could constitute a Commission comprising members of its choice and decide the number of members, he said and pointed out that the Home Ministry had deliberated the question of participation of the Puducherry Government at length and the territorial government had accepted the constitution of the Commission. Since the petitioners were aware that the Central Government exercised its rights vested under Clause (5) of Section 83 in constituting the Commission, they could not now claim that constitution of the committee without a member from the union territory was not in order, he said. 

The petitioners sought to declare that JERC's composition was not as per Electricity Act and so it had no jurisdiction to entertain an application for tariff determination. They also challenged the Commission's action in entertaining a petition by the territorial Electricity Department on Oct 2009 for "Aggregate Revenue Requirement and Determination and Revision of Tariff for retail power sale to various categories of consumers in the Union Territory of Puducherry for 2009-10. The Electricity Department had filed its revision petition before the Commission, stating that it proposed a 50 per cent hike in demand charges and around 35 per cent increase in energy charges for HT consumers. The Centre submitted the Commission had been constituted with one Chairperson or one Member. This had been done after due consultation with all interested parties bearing in mind the workload and cost of running the Commission.

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