NEW DELHI, 10TH JULY, 2015
Article: SC to hear BSES Rajdhani’s plea against Aptel verdict
The Supreme Court on Friday decided to hear a plea by power discom BSES Rajdhani Power challenging the “validity, legality and correctness” of Appellate Tribunal for Electricity (Aptel) judgment on regulator DERC’s 2012 tariff order.
A bench of Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justice N.V. Ramana, while admitting the plea by BSES Rajdhani, wondered if the apex court was to decide everything including the tariff of power distribution companies saying that this was the job of expert bodies.
The March 2 Aptel order came on the plea by BSES Rajdhani contesting the Delhi Electricity Regulatory Commission‘s July 13, 2012 order on the discom’s annual revenue requirement for 2012-13, 2013-14 and 2014-15 and determining retail supply tariff for fiscal 2012-13.
Aptel had partially allowed the BSES challenge to DERC tariff order of July 13, 2012.
BSES Rajdhani has challenged the Aptel order on seven counts that amongst other includes fixation of AT&C loss target, lower allowance of employee costs, and partial implementation of power purchase adjustment formula.
Tagging the plea by the BSES with its earlier similar pleas, Justice Gogoi told senior counsel Kapil Sibal, appearing for the discom, that the issue was decided by an expert body (DERC) and the adjudicated by Aptel and “now as a last resort you are raising a substantial question of law before the top court”.
“What is the substantial question of law involved in it. It is just a question of tariff,” Justice Gogoi asked Sibal, who replied: “The DERC always decides against us whatever may be the situation” and “what is the purpose of an expert body”.
Challenging the March 2 Aptel order, BSES Rajdhani has invoked section 125 of the Electricity Act, 2003 providing for an appeal in the Supreme Court in a matter involving substantial question of law.
In a dig at Sibal, Justice Gogoi quipped: “What did you do when you were on the other side (when Sibal was a minister in UPA government)” as he asked if the apex court “has to decide everything including tariff”.
“I don’t have expertise to decide (the tariff),” said.
At this, Sibal said: “The judge on the panel too does not have the expertise.”