SC seeks AG's assistance in plea against HC order on provision of Electricity Act

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New Delhi, Jul 3 (PTI) The Supreme Court has sought assistance of Attorney General K K Venugopal on a plea challenging a high court order dealing with jurisdiction of civil court under a provision of the Electricity Act.

In its December 2019 order, the Punjab and Haryana High Court had dismissed an appeal filed by a man against whom proceedings were initiated under Section 126 of the Electricity Act, which deals with assessment of charges for power theft, on the ground of jurisdiction.

The high court had referred to section 145 of the Act and noted that jurisdiction of civil court to entertain suits/proceedings in respect to matters falling under section 126 of the Act is expressly barred.

The plea against the high court order came up for hearing on June 29 before a bench headed by Chief Justice N V Ramana.

“Having heard counsel appearing for the petitioner and carefully perusing the material available on record, we are of the considered view that the points raised in these special leave petitions require the assistance of Attorney General for India,” the bench, also comprising Justices A S Bopanna and Hrishikesh Roy, said.

“In view of the above, let notice be issued to the Attorney General for India. List the matters after three weeks,” the bench said in its order.

According to the plea filed in the apex court, in October 2012, proceeding under section 126 of the Act was initiated and the petitioner and his father had received separate memos on the basis of assessment by licensee for alleged theft of electricity.

The plea said that Nyayadhikari, gram Nyayalaya, had passed an order in October 2015 and allowed the suit filed by the petitioner's father on the same facts and no appeal was filed by the authority against it.

It said that in August 2016, the civil judge had dismissed the suit filed by the petitioner but allowed the issue of jurisdiction in his favour.

The petitioner then challenged the order but his plea was dismissed in 2019.

He thereafter moved the high court which rejected his plea on the ground of jurisdiction.

“The high court failed to appreciate that in the similar case filed by the father of the petitioner, the suit was allowed by the Nyayadhikari, Gram Nyayalaya, Rania and the same was not challenged anywhere and attained finality,” the plea filed in the apex court said. PTI ABA MNL SJK SMN

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