CAG justifies its role and SC sends notice on audit to Delhi discoms

High court had rejected public audit of private power distribution companies even though govt holds stake in them

GN Staff | January 18, 2016


#supreme court   #delhi high court   #power distribution companies   #discoms   #electricity   #pwoer  

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.

Comments

 

Other News

Mumbai`s stalled building projects: Is self-redevelopment the real solution?

Land in Mumbai city, which is surrounded by water on three sides, is scarce and has a premium. Property prices in certain areas of financial capital of the country are as much as Rs 1 lakh per sq ft. Yet, 5,800 buildings have been lying in a stalled condition for the last 18 years. Meanwhile

Revadi, electoral reforms and fiscal responsibility

Revadi (sweetmeat) or more popular word, ‘freebies’, has been dominating headlines recently. A public interest litigation (PIL) has been filed in Supreme Court to bar all political parties from making such promises. In response, one leading political party, Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), has filed thei

Jal Jeevan Mission: 6.70 crore households provided with tap water connections

Since August 2019, Government of India, in partnership with States, is implementing Jal Jeevan Mission (JJM) to make provision of potable tap water supply every rural household by 2024. As many as 6.70 crore households have been provided with tap water connections in the 35 months, since Aug

Cloud inclusivity: Ensuring highly regulated organisations are ready for a cloud-first world

Over the last few years, cloud has been able to create a special place for itself amongst fast moving, competitive and growth-led organisations. As the technology became an imperative, it has undoubtedly created unique business opportunities and isbecoming an anchor for innovation for leading businesses gl

1.29 crore voters chose NOTA in five years

None-of-the-above, or NOTA – the option introduced for voters in 2013 when they don’t want to support any of the candidate – has made some progress. In the past five years, NOTA has secured 1,29,77,627 votes in state assembly elections and Lok Sabha election, according to an analysis by t

India committs to reduce Emissions Intensity of GDP by 45% by 2030

India stands committed to reduce Emissions Intensity of its GDP by 45 percent from the 2005 level by 2030 and achieve about 50 percent cumulative electric power installed capacity from non-fossil fuel-based energy resources by 2030. The country’s India’s updated Nationally Determined Contributi

Visionary Talk: Amitabh Gupta, Pune Police Commissioner with Kailashnath Adhikari, MD, Governance Now


Archives

Current Issue

Opinion

Facebook    Twitter    Google Plus    Linkedin    Subscribe Newsletter

Twitter