WP No. 330 of 2012
IN THE HIGH COURT AT CALCUTTA
Constitutional Writ Jurisdiction
CESC LTD. & ORS.
The Hon'ble JUSTICE DEBASISH KAR GUPTA
Date : 10th May, 2012.
Mr. O. P. Dubey, Advocate.
Mr. A. Z. Mondal, Advocate.
... for the petitioner
Mr. Arnab Chakraborty, Advocate
.. for Respondent Nos.1 and 2
Mr. Sajal Kumar Chakraborty, Advocate.
Mr. Saibal Bhowmick, Advocate.
Mr. Washief Ali, Advocate.
... for the respdt. nos. 4 to 7
Mr. D. Mukherjee, Advocate.
Mr. Pinaki Bhattacharya, Advocate.
.. for the respdt. no.8
Mr. Raghunath Chakraborty, Advocate.
... for the CESC.
The Court : On the prayer made on behalf of the petitioner, leave is granted to him to correct the typographical error in prayer (a)(ii) of the application.
This writ application is directed against an order dated March 30, 2012 passed by the Grievance Redressal Officer of the respondent no.1. By virtue of the impugned order, the application of the petitioner for giving new electric connection (low tension) at premises no. 109/3, Collins Street, Kolkata-700 016, was rejected.
The petitioner submitted an application for giving new electric connection in his favour. The petitioner enclosed a 2
possession certificate issued by the Councillor. Since no connection was given to the petitioner, he approached the Grievance Redressal Officer of the respondent no.1 for redressal of his above grievance. The Grievance Redressal Officer of the respondent no.1 asked the petitioner to produce sufficient proof to show that he was in settled possession of the premises in question. In reply, the petitioner produced telephone bill raised in his name for using the telephone at the premises in question. After considering the above document, the Grievance Redressal Officer of the respondent no.1 passed the impugned order with the observation that it came to his knowledge that the above telephone connection had been suspended with effect from March 29, 2012 or, in other words, the Grievance Redressal Officer was not inclined to accept the above telephone bill in support of the claim of the petitioner that he had been in settled possession of the premises in question. However, the Grievance Redressal Officer of the respondent no.1 gave liberty to the petitioner to apply afresh on the strength of any of the documents, namely, passport, voter ID card, rent bill, rent controller's challan, telephone bill, municipal or any other tax bill or other document issued by any Ministry or Department or Government showing occupancy by the petitioner in respect of the premises in question in order to establish sufficient proof of bona fide occupancy at that premises. Needless to point out that the Grievance Redressal 3
Officer of the respondent no.1 did not accept the telephone bill produced by the petitioner in view of the fact that the above telephone connection had been suspended by the BSNL authority on March 29, 2012.
It is submitted on behalf of the petitioner that the suspension of the telephone connection does not mean that the petitioner was not in lawful possession of the premises in question. It is also submitted by him that in view of the settled position of law as decided in the matter of Abhimanhu Mazumdar - vs- Superintending Engineer reported in 2011(2) CHN 768, he is entitled to get new electric connection at the premises in question. On the other hand, it is submitted on behalf of the respondent-authority that in accordance with the provision of Regulation 3.2.1 of the West Bengal Electricity Regulatory Commission ( Standards of Performance of Licensees Relating to Consumer Services) Regulations, 2010 ( hereinafter referred to as the said Regulation, 2010 ), the documents mentioned in the impugned order are the documents which can be taken into consideration by the respondent-authority as the proof of occupancy in the premises in question. The submissions made on behalf of the petitioner are vividly opposed by the learned Counsel appearing on behalf of the respondent nos. 4 to 7. I have heard the learned Counsels appearing for the respective parties at length and I have considered the facts and 4
circumstances of this case carefully. Admittedly, the petitioner produced possession certificate issued by the Councillor in his favour as also telephone bill issued by the BSNL in his favour. After enquiry, the Grievance Redressal Officer of the respondent no.1 came to the conclusion that the telephone bill could not be accepted as a proof of occupancy of the petitioner in respect of the premises in question since the above connection had been suspended from March 29, 2012. The respondent-authority further gave liberty to the petitioner to apply afresh on the strength of any of the documents, namely, passport, voter ID card, rent bill, rent controller's challan, telephone bill, municipal or any other tax bill or any other document issued by any Ministry or Department or Government showing occupancy at the premises in question.
In order to examine the propriety of the impugned order,the provisions of Regulation 3.2 of the said Regulation, 2010 is quoted below:
"3.2. Clearance required for new connection: 3.2.1 No new connection shall be given unless the following document(s) is/are submitted by the intending consumer with the application in the form given in Annexure-A, completed in every respect, where applicable,
(a) In-principle clearance for establishment from the Pollution Control Board concerned, wherever applicable.
(b) Document(s) of bonafide occupation or ownership of a premises, such as Passport/Voter Identity Card/Rent Bill/Rent Control Challan/Telephone Bill/ Municipal or any other Tax Bill/ any other document
issued by any Ministry or Department of
Government showing his occupancy in the
(c) Way leave permission in the specified format in Form-I".
After considering the document in the impugned order in the light of the above provision, I find no impropriety in the decision making process of the Grievance Redressal Officer of the respondent No.1.
With regard to the decision of Abhimanyu Majumder (Supra), I find that the question of interpreting the lawful occupier was taken into consideration by a Full Bench of this Court in the light of the Licensing Rules, 2006 and it has been observed by the above Full Bench that whether the occupation of a person in a property is lawful or not can only be decided by a competent forum prescribed by law. Therefore, it does not lie in the mouth of the petitioner that the respondent authorities acted contrary to the ratio laid down in the above matter while passing the impugned order. That apart, the said Regulation, 2010 came into operation with effect from May 31, 2010, i.e. from the date of publication of the said Regulation, 2010 in the Official Gazette. There was no scope for the aforesaid Full Bench to take into consideration the 6
provisions of Regulation 3.2.1 of the said Regulation, 2010 while deciding the issue in the matter of Abhimanyu Majumder (supra). Therefore, no relief can be granted to the petitioner in the light of the aforesaid decision.
This writ application is, therefore, dismissed. There will, however, be no order as to costs.
This order, however, will not prevent the petitioner from applying afresh before the respondent-authorities for new electric connection at the premises in question taking into consideration of any document mentioned in Clause 3.2.1 of the said Regulation, 2010.
Urgent photostat certified copy of this order, if applied for, be supplied to the parties subject to compliance with all requisite formalities.
( Debasish Kar Gupta, J )