New property owner has to clear electricity arrears: Court

NEW DELHI - The Delhi High Court Thursday ruled that electricity arrears will have to be paid by the new owner of any property and the power distribution company has full right to disconnect supply otherwise.

A bench headed by Chief Justice Ajit Prakash Shah said, If there are electricity dues against the premises’ previous owner who transfers it to a new owner, the new owner applying for a fresh electricity connection can be compelled by the distribution company to pay the arrears…and the distribution company can refuse to supply electricity to the premises on account of such non-payment.

Electricity is a public property and hence the law in its majesty benignly protects public property and behoves everyone to respect public property. Hence, the courts must adopt the interpretation which furthers the preservation and protection of public property, the bench noted.

The court also slapped a fine of Rs.25,000 on Saurashtra Color Tones Private Ltd, which was opposing the plea filed by BSES Rajdhani Power Ltd.

The case deals with one Dev Arora, who was the original allottee of an industrial shed in Nangloi in northwest Delhi and was using more electricity than sanctioned. The supply was disconnected and the property transferred to the other company which asked for power supply to be resumed. On this the BSES stated that the new owner has to clear the arrears on the previous connection.

Saurashtra Color Tones Pvt Ltd then approached the court and the court ruled in their favour in 2005, stating the BSES has no power to claim arrears from the new owner of the property.

After this, BSES filed an appeal in the court.

The court while giving relief to the BSES said, Whenever a person purchases a property, it is his duty to find out whether there are outstanding electricity dues in relation to the premises or not, and he cannot be allowed to say later that he was unaware of the fact that there were electricity dues of the previous owner.

“In view of the general condition of Supply, it is the duty of the new owner to himself make enquiries and find out whether there were such dues or not, ruled the bench.


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