The man’s counsel informed the court that he was willing to make the payment in installments and that he could not make the payments due to financial distress
New Delhi: A man who defaulted on electricity bill of Rs 4 lakh, prompting the authorities to disconnect power in his house, has got some relief from the Delhi High Court which asked BSES Rajdhani to restore the connection on receiving payment of Rs 1 lakh from him before April 30. Justice Prathiba M Singh fixed the schedule of paying Rs 4 lakh in three installments, considering that in the lockdown situation the man would be unable to arrange for funds and it could be difficult for a family with children to stay without electricity.
The man’s counsel informed the court that he was willing to make the payment in installments and that he could not make the payments due to financial distress.
Advocate Sunil Fernandes, representing BSES Rajdhani Power Ltd, submitted that the man had defaulted in making payments earlier as well and the matter had been decided twice by the Lok Adalat where he had agreed to pay the amount but did not do so.
He said the first award was decided by the Lok Adalat on February 4 when the man had consented to pay Rs 3.76 lakh as full and final settlement of his bill of Rs 4.67 lakh on or before February 28.
However, due to non-payment, the matter was again considered by the Lok Adalat and he was permitted to pay Rs 4 lakh as final settlement by March 15 which was also defaulted.
Considering the submissions, the court said under normal circumstances, the man would not have been entitled to any relief.
“However, after the announcement of the lockdown, it is clear that the petitioner’s family, consisting of children and grand-children, would suffer immensely if electricity is not restored. Considering the current lockdown situation and the fact that the petitioner (man) would be even unable to arrange any funds, this court is of the opinion that it can be quite difficult for a family to stay without electricity,” the court said.
The court extended the time for making payment and directed the man to pay it in three installments, that is, Rs 1 lakh on or before April 30, Rs 1 lakh on or before May 30 and Rs 2 lakh on or before July 15.
It said after receiving the first instalment of Rs 1 lakh, the discom shall restore the electricity of the man’s house within 48 hours.
The court made it clear that if the man did not adhere to the schedule of payment, the discom is free to disconnect the electricity and take steps to recover the complete dues, without taking into consideration the awards passed by the Lok Adalat.
The court, which said regular payment of the monthly consumption charges shall continue without any default, added that this order shall not be treated as a precedent as it is being passed under extenuating circumstances.