Chandigarh electricity crisis: Decision to shield culprits contrary to SC ruling, says High Court : The Tribune India
Chandigarh, February 25
The High Court of Punjab and Haryana has asserted that the change which has appeared in the position of the UT administration, perhaps, to protect the culprits involved in the disruption of electricity supply is contrary to the spirit of the Supreme Court decision. The bench made it clear that the Supreme Court’s decision required the imposition and recovery of costs from those who damaged public property.
The Bench of Chief Justice Ravi Shanker Jha and Justice Arun Palli also clarified that the UT Deputy Commissioner was virtually assuming the role of the court and would be heard before “taking further action or requiring the presence of the UT adviser”. The bench also ordered the deputy commissioner to remain in court on March 3 – the next court date in the case.
The bench said it was claimed in a previously filed affidavit by the UT Chief Engineer (Electrical) that the culprits, who sabotaged the power transmission apparatus and caused an intentional outage of the electricity, would be severely punished. Furthermore, an FIR against the mistaken union employees/members had been filed and the Chandigarh Police were in the process of obtaining the CCTV footage to identify the real culprits.
“If the affidavit is juxtaposed with the minutes of a meeting, at first glance the authorities appear to be downplaying the significance of the entire event which has caused an unprecedented power crisis. There appears to be a shift in the position of the administration, perhaps, to protect the real culprit, which is contrary to the spirit of the Supreme Court’s decision…”,
Referring to the minutes of a meeting, the bench observed that the deputy commissioner had assured the union that a reasonable and benevolent opinion would be taken of those who would join their duties immediately and that appropriate action would be taken. taken against employees who would always choose to remain absent. HQ added that the administrator’s adviser apparently did not attend the meeting, but the minutes were reportedly released with his approval.
Previous HC privatization order
Hitting the UT administration for misplaced priorities, the High Court in May 2021 had ruled that its proposed power privatization action was in direct conflict with the national “Sab Ka Saath, Sab Ka Vikas” agenda or support of all, the development of all.
The then Bench of Justice Jitendra Chauhan and Judge Vivek Puri added: “With great pain and anguish, it is recorded that we are unable to come to terms with the fact that when the whole world is grappling with the deadly virus, when there is no oxygen, no intensive care units, a long queue at cremation grounds and no room in hospitals,
the rush on the part of the administration to hand over the for-profit department to the private entity at this point in history and in this crisis situation facing all of humanity, seems out of place”.
Not the first time – HC raises the UT after knowing suo motu
This is the second time in the memorable past that the High Court has arrested the administration of Chandigarh after learning suo motu of the electricity crisis. Justice THB Chalapathi, then a High Court Judge for Punjab and Haryana, had in the late 1990s learned of a power outage in the High Court before summoning senior officials from the administration of Chandīgarh. A senior official was indeed forced to stand in the courtroom during the trial.
electricity crisis in #chandigarh