High court had rejected public audit of private power distribution companies even though govt holds stake in them
GN Staff | January 18, 2016
The issue of public auditing of power distribution companies in Delhi has again come to life with the supreme court sending notice to three private companies.
A bench headed by justice J Chelamswar asked the three discoms -- Tata Power Delhi Distribution Ltd (TPDDL), BSES Rajdhani Power Ltd and BSES Yamuna Power Ltd -- to file their responses within four weeks and listed the matter for final hearing on March 2.
The bench was hearing appeals filed by Delhi government, Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of India and NGO United RWAs Joint Action (URJA) against the verdict of the Delhi high court and seeking a stay of the order.
The HC in its 2015 order, had termed as "populist" the decision of AAP government to have CAG audit of TPDDL, BSES Rajdhani Power Ltd and BSES Yamuna Power Ltd.
There can be no other audit by CAG at the instance of the state government when regulatory body Delhi Electricity Regulatory Commission (DERC) is already there to audit the accounts of discoms, the high court had said.
"Such populist measures without considering the ultimate advantage thereof, not only end up being contrary to public interest but also put unnecessary burden on courts," it had said.
It had disagreed with government's contention that audit was ordered in public interest to determine the tariff, saying "determination of tariff is in sole domain of DERC which is well empowered to conduct the same or have the same conducted and CAG's audit report on discoms has no place in Regulatory Regime brought about by Electricity Act and the Reforms Act".
The discoms are 51:49% joint venture between the private companies and the Delhi government. The city government had ordered the CAG audit of the three discoms which supply power in Delhi, on grounds including that it has 49% stake in the discoms.
In its contention, the CAG has said that the discoms enjoyed funding of more than Rs 5,000 crore from the Delhi government since their inception on July 1, 2002 and justifyed its stand on auditing their accounts.
"Considering that the discoms enjoyed funding of more than Rs 5,000 crore from the state by way of equity, debt, transferred assets and also receivables, there is a nexus with the consolidated fund of the state, and hence the CAG has a statutory duty to scrutinize the books of accounts of discoms," the CAG said in its petition.
On the Delhi HC order, the CAG said the "high court has fallen into grave error by quashing the audit... on the ground of alleged procedural lapses".
The auditor pointed out that the Arvind Kejriwal government was not the first to order a CAG audit of discoms. The previous government headed by Congress's Sheila Dikshit too had asked the CAG to audit the three discoms.
"It is pertinent to mention herein that the cabinet of Delhi government had already taken a decision as far back as December 27, 2011 to audit the accounts of discoms," the auditor said in its petition. On the DERC, the CAG said the "DERC itself admitted before the HC that it does not have technical expertise or the resources to conduct an effective audit of the accounts of discoms. In such a scenario, it was incumbent upon the CAG to fill this lacuna... and to act in accordance with its constitutional mandate," the petition said.
"The CAG functions as a watchdog for ensuring accountability and probity of the executive and legislature. Any attempt to whittle down the jurisdiction and actions of the CAG runs contrary to the mandate of the Constitution," it said while seeking a stay on the HC order.
Maya Kodnani, a BJP leader who was the MLA from Naroda when this locality on the outskirts of Ahmedabad witnessed one of the most gruesome episodes during the Gujarat riots of 2002, was acquitted by the Gujarat High Court on Friday. Her acquittal in the Naroda Patiya massacre case is only a sequel to
The number of civic complaints with BMC has increased from 61,910 in 2015 to 92,329 in 2017, which is 49% in two years. A report titled ‘Civic Issues Registered by Citizens and Deliberations done by Municipal Councillors in Mumbai’ released by Praja Foundation has found some interesting facts a
Atishi Marlena is among the nine AAP functionaries who were dismissed by the union home ministry asserting that their posts were created without the approval of the centre. Marlena, served as education advisor of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP)-led government in Delhi. While she was intrumental in improving the
The Fortune magazine has named three Indians – lawyer Indira Jaising, industrialist Mukesh Ambani and architect Balkrishna V Doshi – among the world’s greatest fifty leaders.
Remember Kardashev scale? For the uninitiated, it’s a method of measuring a civilization’s level of technological advancement, based on the amount of energy it is able to use for communication. We will get to its unconventional relevance to the big urban questions at the end, but just keep it a
Out of 1580 MPs and MLAs with criminal cases, 48 (three MPs and 45 MLAs) have declared cases related to crime against women. The Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) and