New Delhi: The Supreme Court would hear on January 18 a plea of an NGO filed against a High Court verdict quashing Delhi government’s 2014 order asking the CAG to audit the accounts of three private power distribution companies.
The court deferred the crucial hearing after the counsel appearing for Delhi government and the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of India said that their appeals against the High Court verdict are in the process of being filed and hence, it would be proper to hear all of them together.
“We will hear all of them on January 18,” a bench headed by Justice J Chelameswar said. The court was hearing the appeal of NGO, United RWAs Joint Action (URJA), filed through lawyer Prashant Bhushan, against dismissal of his PIL by the High Court. It had sought an audit of the discoms’ accounts by the CAG.
The High Court had termed as “populist” the decision of the AAP government to have CAG audit of discoms — Tata Power Delhi Distribution Ltd (TPDDL), BSES Rajdhani Power Ltd and BSES Yamuna Power Ltd, which supply power in Delhi.
There can be no other audit by CAG at the instance of the state government when regulatory body, Delhi Electric Regulatory Commission, is already there to audit the accounts of discoms, it 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 the courts,” the High Court had said.
The court had made the observations while quashing the Delhi government’s January 7, 2014 directive to carry out an audit of the three discoms by the CAG.
It had also not agreed with the government’s contention that the audit was ordered in public interest for determining the tariff, saying “determination of tariff is in sole domain of DERC which is well empowered to itself conduct the same or have the same conducted and the report of CAG audit of discoms has no place in the Regulatory Regime brought about by the Electricity Act and the Reforms Act”.
The discoms are 51:49 per cent joint venture between the private companies and the Delhi government