Electricity An Essential Service; Can’t Deny It Without Lawful Reason: Delhi High Court

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Electricity is an essential service and a person cannot be deprived of it without a cogent and lawful reason, the Delhi High Court has said.
The court stated that even when there is a dispute over the ownership of a property, the authorities cannot deprive its legal occupant of electricity by insisting on a no objection certificate (NOC) from those claiming to be the owners.

“There is no gainsaying that electricity is an essential service, of which a person cannot be deprived without cogent, lawful reason. It is well-settled that even if disputes exist as to ownership of the property at which an electricity connection is sought, the concerned authorities cannot deprive the legal occupant thereof by insisting that an NOC be furnished from others who also claim to be owners,” said Justice Manoj Kumar Ohri in an order dated November 14.

The court’s observation came on a petition by two senior citizens who sought a direction to BSES-YPL to install a fresh electricity metre at the premises they were residing in.

It was the petitioners’ grievance that to install the metre, BSES-YPL was seeking an NOC from the brothers of one of the petitioners, with whom they were engaged in a court case over partition of the property.

The court noted that presently, the petitioners were getting electricity supply to their portion of the property as per an arrangement between the parties, but the same caused multiple disputes. The court, in its order, noted that the Supreme Court has said in a decision that electricity is a basic amenity and cannot be declined even to a tenant on the ground of failure/refusal of the landlord to issue no objection certificate and the authority is only required to examine whether the applicant is in occupation of the premises in question.

The electricity supplying authority, in the present case, told the court that it would consider the petitioners’ application for fresh connection in accordance with law, without insisting on an NOC for the brothers.

The court asked the authority to process the application forthwith without insisting on the NOC within two weeks and clarified that the “order shall not be construed as recognizing any possessory rights of the petitioners with regard to the subject premises”.

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