Previous owner’s electricity dues can be recovered from new buyer, Supreme Court’s decision
New Delhi (Best Hindu News): The Supreme Court has ruled that the electricity dues of the previous owner of a property can be recovered from the new buyer. Chief Justice D.Y. A bench headed by Chandrachud said that the condition of payment of dues of the previous consumer to the distribution licensee before resumption of supply of electricity to any premises is valid under the scheme of the 2003 Act (Electricity Act 2003).
The apex court was hearing a number of petitions on whether the electricity dues of the former owner can be recovered from the latter. The power utilities had argued that the liability to supply electricity under Section 43 of the 2003 Act was not absolute. If the previous owner has dues, the new connection may be denied until the dues are cleared by the previous owner.
In contrast, the auction buyers argued that Section 43 obliges distribution licensees to supply electricity at all costs. It was argued that the provisions of the Electricity Act, 1910 and the Electricity (Supply) Act, 1948 do not empower the Electricity Board to recover the electricity dues of the previous owner from the new owner or occupier of such premises and The payment is made only on the person to whom the electricity is supplied.
The bench said that under Section 43, the responsibility for supply of electricity rests only with the owner or occupier of the premises. The Bench observed that the responsibility under Section 43 to supply electricity rests with the owner or occupier of the premises. The 2003 Act talks about coordination between the consumer and the premises. Under section 43, when electricity is supplied, the owner or occupier becomes a consumer only in respect of the particular premises for which electricity is demanded and provided by the electric utilities.
In the judgment delivered on May 19, the apex court decided 19 cases, which were pending for nearly two decades.