IN THE HIGH COURT OF KERALA AT ERNAKULAM WP(C).No. 28751 of 2008(W) 1. V.P.E. ABDULLA HAJI, ... Petitioner Vs 1. KERALA STATE ELECTRICITY BOARD, ... Respondent 2. STATE OF KERALA REPRESENTED BY 3. THE DISTRICT COLLECTOR, KANNUR. 4. THE TAHSILDAR (REVENUE RECOVERY), For Petitioner :SRI.S.RAMESH BABU For Respondent :SRI.P.P.THAJUDEEN, SC, K.S.E.B The Hon'ble MR. Justice S.SIRI JAGAN Dated :07/02/2011 O R D E R S.SIRI JAGAN, J. ================== W.P.(C).No. 28751 of 2008 ================== Dated this the 7th day of February, 2011 J U D G M E N T
This writ petition is filed by a consumer of the Kerala State Electricity Board challenging the revenue recovery proceedings for recovery of arrears of electricity charges from him. Originally, the petitioner challenged the demand for arrears, by filing O.P.No.10528/2003, in which, by Ext.P3 judgment dated 2.4.2003, there was a direction to the Executive Engineer, KSEB, Thalassery, to dispose of a representation filed by the petitioner. Pursuant to the same, Ext.P4 order was passed by the Executive Engineer, wherein, the demand was confirmed. The petitioner again challenged the demand by filing W.P.(C).No.27629/2003, in which, by Ext.P5 interim order dated 28.8.2003, disconnection was stayed on payment of an amount of ` 1 lakh by the petitioner within one month. The petitioner did not pay that amount. Ultimately, by Ext.P6 judgment dated 28.11.2007, the writ petition was finally dismissed confirming the demand from the petitioner. Thereafter, by Ext.P7, the petitioner was directed to pay the defaulted amount. The petitioner is challenging the said revenue recovery proceedings on the ground of limitation. According to the petitioner, once pursuant to Ext.P5 interim order, the petitioner did not pay the amount as directed in the interim order, the limitation would run from that date and, therefore, Ext.P7 proceedings initiated on 6.8.2008 more than three years after the date of Ext.P5, w.p.c.28751/08 2 viz., 28.8.2003, is barred by limitation. According to the petitioner, as per the judgment of the Supreme Court in State of Kerala v. V.R.Kalliyanikutty [1999 (2) KLT 146 (SC)], limitation is applicable to proceedings under the Revenue Recovery Act also and the recovery of the arrears of electricity charges from the petitioner is clearly barred by limitation.
2. A counter affidavit has been filed by the Board, wherein they take the contention that there is no limitation. According to them, the issue was live till W.P.(C).No.27629/2003 was dismissed on 28.11.2007 by Ext.P6 judgment and limitation would run only from that date. Even apart from the same, according to them, arrears of electricity charges are recoverable as arrears of land revenue by virtue of Regulation 15(d) of the Conditions of Supply of Electrical Energy and, in such cases, going by the ratio of the decision of this Court in Inspector, Toddy Workers Welfare Fund Board v. M.S.Vijayan [2009 (1) KHC 465], the period of limitation is 30 years under Article 112 of the Limitation Act and therefore, in any event, there is no limitation.
3. In answer to the same, the counsel for the petitioner relies on the judgment of a learned Single Judge of this Corut in W.P.(C). No.19066/2005, wherein the limitation prescribed for recovery of arrears of electricity was held to be three years.
4. I have considered the rival contentions in detail. w.p.c.28751/08 3
5. No doubt, the Supreme Court has held in Kalliyanikutty's case (supra) that limitation is applicable to proceedings under the Revenue Recovery Act itself, but the question is as to from which date the limitation would run and what is the period of limitation. In this case, the demand for arrears of electricity charges by the Electricity Board was continuously under challenge at the hands of the petitioner and the liability of the petitioner was finally decided only by Ext.P6 judgment dated 28.11.2007. Therefore, according to me, the limitation would run only from that date. If that be so, the revenue recovery notice issued on 6.8.2008 is clearly within time. Even otherwise, in the decision cited by the counsel for the Board it has been specifically held that when under law amounts due are liable to be recovered as arrears of land revenue, the period of limitation applicable is under Regulation 112 of the Limitation Act, which is 30 years. In view of the above, I do not think that the decision in W.P.(C).No.19066/2005 cited by the petitioner can be followed to decide this case. Therefore, I hold that the initiation of revenue recovery proceedings is well within time. Since the liability has already been confirmed by Ext.P6 judgment, the petitioner cannot now escape from the liability to pay the arrears. In the above circumstances, this writ petition is dismissed.
sdk+ S.SIRI JAGAN, JUDGE ///True copy/// P.A. to Judge w.p.c.28751/08 4