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Sunday, March 2, 2014

Jharkhand State Electricity Regulatory commission and Electricity Act 2004 and 2004- Vs- Old statutory agreements between board and consumers before the new Act - power to fix tariff - has gone to separate and independent Board and as such previous tariff fixed earlier under agreements before the commencement of New Act - the statutory agreements entered into earlier were saved, the agreement in question stands replaced by 2004 Tariff Schedule- Apex court held that the High court and DB of High court rightly allowed the writ petitions holding that the Electricity board has no right to issue demand charges basing on old agreements on consumers = Jharkhand State Elect.Board & Ors. ……Appellants Vs. M/s. Laxmi Business & Cement Co.P. Ltd. & Anr. . …Respondents = 2014(Feb.Part) judis.nic.in/supremecourt/filename=41277

    Jharkhand State Electricity Regulatory commission and Electricity Act  2004 and 2004- Vs- Old statutory agreements between board and consumers before the new Act -  power to fix tariff - has gone to separate and independent Board and as such previous tariff fixed earlier under agreements before the commencement of New Act  - the  statutory agreements entered into earlier  were  saved,  the  agreement  in  question stands replaced by 2004 Tariff Schedule- Apex court held that the High court and DB of High court rightly allowed the writ petitions holding that the Electricity board has no right to issue demand charges basing on old agreements on consumers =
 M/s. Laxmi Business & Cement  Co.  Pvt.  Ltd.  and  M/s.
Laxmi  Ispat  Udyog  (arrayed  as  respondent  No.1  in  each   appeal   and
hereinafter  referred  to  as  the  ‘consumers’).  These   respondents   had
questioned the validity of the bills  raised  by  the  JSEB  in  those  Writ
Petitions, primarily on the ground that the bills were contrary  to  and  in
excess of the tariff fixed by the  Jharkhand  State  Electricity  Regulatory
Commission (hereinafter referred to as the  ‘SERC”).  Their  contention  was
accepted by the learned Single Judge and the order of learned  Single  Judge
is affirmed by the Division Bench as well.=
in  the  year  1994  HT
Agreement  was  entered  into  between   Bihar   State   Electricity   Board
(predecessor in interest of  JSEB)  and  the  consumers  which,  inter-alia,
stipulated the tariff that was to be charged by the JSEB from the  consumers
for supply of electricity to these consumers by the JSEB. In Clause 4(c)  of
the Agreement there was a provision of Minimum  Guarantee  Charges.  
In  the
year 2003, Electricity Act was enacted. Indubitably, power to  frame  tariff
under this Act is given to SERC.  SERC  passed order dated framing  the  new
tariff schedule (‘2004 Tariff Schedule’ for short) under Section 86  of  the
Electricity Act (hereinafter referred to as the  Act).  
The  JSEB,  however,
continued to send the bills as per  the  Clause  4(c)  referred  to  in  the
agreement which were paid by the consumers  under  protest.   
In  May  2010,
Writ Petitions were filed by the consumers for quashing of the energy  bills
on the ground that it had wrongly been raised as  per  Clause  4(c)  of  the
Agreement which had ceased to have any effect on the framing of 2004  Tariff
Schedule by the SERC. 
The JSEB, however, contended  that  the  HT  agreement
entered into with the consumers still survived as the 2004  Tariff  Schedule
saves                            this                             Agreement.
Writ petitions were allowed

Apex court conclusion
(i) Whether after the enactment of the  Electricity  Act,  2003  which
came into force on 10.6.2003 and after  passing  of  the  new  tariff  order
dated 27.12.2003 by Jharkhand State  Electricity  Regulatory  Commission  as
per the Act of 2003 can the State Electricity Board still  charge  a  tariff
determined by itself?

      (ii) Whether the issue of  demand  charge  to  HTS  –  1  category  of
consumers has been left  non-considered  by  the  State  Commission  in  the
tariff order dated 27.12.2003 so that the  same  may  be  continued  in  the
manner existed in the State or whether the  same  has  been  considered  and
given affect to in the tariff order dated 27.12.2003 which came into  effect
from 1.1.2004?

      (iii) What would be the effect  of  Section  185  (Repeal  and  Saving
Clause) of the Electricity Act 2003 upon the  HT  supply  Agreement  entered
upon the Board and the Consumer prior to Electricity Act, 2003?
In PTC India Ltd. V. Central Electricity Regulatory  Commission  (2010)
4 SCC 603 this Court has categorically held that Act, 2003 is an  exhaustive
code  on  all  matters  concerning  electricity  which  also  provides   for
“unbundling”  of  State  Electricity  Boards  into  separate  utilities  for
generation, transmission and distribution.  Further,  Regulatory  regime  is
entrusted to the State Electricity Regulatory Commissions  which  are  given
vide ranging responsibilities. This Act has distanced  the  Government  from
all  forms  of  regulations,  including  tariff  regulation  which  is   now
specifically assigned to SERC.
It is, thus, beyond the pale  of  doubt  that  the  State  Electricity
Boards have  no  power  whatsoever  to  frame  tariff  which  is  under  the
exclusive domain of the Commission. 
This legal position has been  judicially
recognized. [See Gujarat Urja Vikas Nigam Ltd. V. Essar Power  Ltd.,  (2008)
4 SCC 755 and A.P. TRANSCO v. Sai Renewable Power (P)  Ltd.  (2011)  11  SCC
34.
in the case of BSES  v.  Tata  Power
 Co.Ltd. (2004) 1 SCC 195  wherein  following  pertinent  observations  were
 made.

           “16. The word “tariff” has not been defined in the Act.  “Tariff”
           is a cartel of commerce and normally it is a book  of  rates.  It
           will mean a schedule of standard prices or  charges  provided  to
           the category or categories of customers specified in the  tariff.
           Sub-section (1) of Section 22 clearly lays down  that  the  State
           Commission shall determine the tariff for electricity (wholesale,
           bulk,  grid  or  retail)  and  also  for  use   of   transmission
           facilities. It has also the power to regulate power  purchase  of
           the distribution utilities including the price at which the power
           shall be procured from the generating companies for transmission,
           sale, distribution and supply in the State.  “Utility”  has  been
           defined in Section 2(1) of the Act and it  means  any  person  or
           entity   engaged   in   the   generation,   transmission,   sale,
           distribution or supply, as the case may be, of energy. Section 29
           lays down that the tariff for  the  intra-State  transmission  of
           electricity and tariff for supply  of  electricity  —  wholesale,
           bulk or retail — in a State shall be subject to the provisions of
           the  Act  and  the  tariff  shall  be  determined  by  the  State
           Commission. Sub-section (2) of Section 29 shows  that  the  terms
           and conditions for fixation of  tariff  shall  be  determined  by
           Regulations and while doing so, the Commission shall be guided by
           the factors  enumerated  in  clauses  (a)  to  (g)  thereof.  The
           Regulations referred to earlier show  that  generating  companies
           and utilities have to first approach the Commission for  approval
           of   their   tariff   whether   for   generation,   transmission,
           distribution or supply and  also  for  terms  and  conditions  of
           supply. They can charge from their  customers  only  such  tariff
           which has been approved by the Commission. Charging of  a  tariff
           which has not been approved by the Commission is an offence which
           is punishable under Section 45 of the Act. The provisions of  the
           Act and Regulations show that the Commission  has  the  exclusive
           power to  determine  the  tariff.  The  tariff  approved  by  the
           Commission is final and binding and it is not permissible for the
           licensee, utility or anyone else to charge a different tariff.”

It is also to be borne in mind that the tariff  in  force  during  the
 period was Tariff Order dated 27.12.2003 for the period 2003-04  which  was
 having force of law under the Electricity Act  2003.   Thus,  what  follows
 from the above is that even if we proceed on the basis that  the  statutory
 agreements entered into earlier  were  saved,  the  agreement  in  question
 stands replaced by 2004 Tariff Schedule.
As a result, we find that the appeals are bereft of any merit and  are
 accordingly dismissed. No costs.

2014(Feb.Part) judis.nic.in/supremecourt/filename=41277
K.S. RADHAKRISHNAN, A.K. SIKRI

                                                    [REPORTABLE]

                        IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA

                        CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION

                          CIVIL APPEAL NO.2909/2014
                  (arising out of SLP(Civil) No.22047/2011)

Jharkhand State Elect.Board & Ors.                       ……Appellants

                 Vs.

M/s. Laxmi Business & Cement Co.P. Ltd. & Anr.   . …Respondents

WITH

CA. No.2910/2014 @ SLP(Civil) No.22049/2011,
C.A.No.2911/2014 @SLP(Civil)  No.6350/2014 @ CC 20307/2012  and      CA.
No.2913/2014 @ SLP(Civil) No.6351/2014 @ CC 20360/2012

                             J U D G M E N T

A.K.SIKRI,J.

1.    Delay condoned.

2.    Leave granted.

3.    The appellant in both the cases is Jharkhand State  Electricity  Board
(JSEB), which is aggrieved by  the  common  judgment  dated  5th  July  2011
passed by the High Court of Jharkhand in two  appeals.  These  appeals  were
preferred by the appellant JSEB against the orders dated 17th February  2010
passed by the learned Single Judge of that court in the two  Writ  Petitions
which were filed by M/s. Laxmi Business & Cement  Co.  Pvt.  Ltd.  and  M/s.
Laxmi  Ispat  Udyog  (arrayed  as  respondent  No.1  in  each   appeal   and
hereinafter  referred  to  as  the  ‘consumers’).  These   respondents   had
questioned the validity of the bills  raised  by  the  JSEB  in  those  Writ
Petitions, primarily on the ground that the bills were contrary  to  and  in
excess of the tariff fixed by the  Jharkhand  State  Electricity  Regulatory
Commission (hereinafter referred to as the  ‘SERC”).  Their  contention  was
accepted by the learned Single Judge and the order of learned  Single  Judge
is affirmed by the Division Bench as well.

4.    To give a glimpse of the controversy involved, in  the  year  1994  HT
Agreement  was  entered  into  between   Bihar   State   Electricity   Board
(predecessor in interest of  JSEB)  and  the  consumers  which,  inter-alia,
stipulated the tariff that was to be charged by the JSEB from the  consumers
for supply of electricity to these consumers by the JSEB. In Clause 4(c)  of
the Agreement there was a provision of Minimum  Guarantee  Charges.
In  the
year 2003, Electricity Act was enacted. Indubitably, power to  frame  tariff
under this Act is given to SERC.  SERC  passed order dated framing  the  new
tariff schedule (‘2004 Tariff Schedule’ for short) under Section 86  of  the
Electricity Act (hereinafter referred to as the  Act).
The  JSEB,  however,
continued to send the bills as per  the  Clause  4(c)  referred  to  in  the
agreement which were paid by the consumers  under  protest.
In  May  2010,
Writ Petitions were filed by the consumers for quashing of the energy  bills
on the ground that it had wrongly been raised as  per  Clause  4(c)  of  the
Agreement which had ceased to have any effect on the framing of 2004  Tariff
Schedule by the SERC. 
The JSEB, however, contended  that  the  HT  agreement
entered into with the consumers still survived as the 2004  Tariff  Schedule
saves                            this                             Agreement.
 5.   Since the Writ Petitions of the consumers were allowed and  the  order
of the learned Single Judge is already upheld by the Division Bench,  it  is
obvious that pleas raised by the JSEB have not found favour  with  the  High
Court. Before us as well, same  very  contentions  were  raised  which  were
raised by the JSEB in the High Court. Additionally, it  was  also  contended
that even Section 185 (2)(a) of the  Act  read  with  Section  6(B)  of  the
General Clauses Act categorically protects the  previous  operation  of  the
earlier enactment, duly done or saved thereunder.

It is, thus, clear that questions which arise  for  consideration  in  these
appeals are the following:

      (i) Whether after the enactment of the  Electricity  Act,  2003  which
came into force on 10.6.2003 and after  passing  of  the  new  tariff  order
dated 27.12.2003 by Jharkhand State  Electricity  Regulatory  Commission  as
per the Act of 2003 can the State Electricity Board still  charge  a  tariff
determined by itself?

      (ii) Whether the issue of  demand  charge  to  HTS  –  1  category  of
consumers has been left  non-considered  by  the  State  Commission  in  the
tariff order dated 27.12.2003 so that the  same  may  be  continued  in  the
manner existed in the State or whether the  same  has  been  considered  and
given affect to in the tariff order dated 27.12.2003 which came into  effect
from 1.1.2004?

      (iii) What would be the effect  of  Section  185  (Repeal  and  Saving
Clause) of the Electricity Act 2003 upon the  HT  supply  Agreement  entered
upon the Board and the Consumer prior to Electricity Act, 2003?

6.    While dealing with these questions, we will  narrate  further  seminal
facts and the details submissions of the learned counsel for the parties  of
either side.

      1. Re.:    Power of SERC under Electricity Act 2003.

            Legal position contained in Act of 2003 is  hardly  in  dispute.
Before this Act was enacted in the year  2003,  we  had  Indian  Electricity
Act, 1910 and thereafter Electricity (Supply) Act, 1948 was passed.   It  is
the  Electricity  Board  in  the  respective  States  which  were  supplying
electricity to the consumers and determining the operation  rates  at  which
the electricity was to be supplied. Section 49 of the  Act,  1948  empowered
the  Board  to  supply  electricity  to  any  person  upon  such  terms  and
conditions as the Board thinks fit and made for the purposes of such  supply
from time to time and were  empowered  to  frame  uniform  tariffs  for  the
purpose of such supply. This power to frame tariff under  Section  49(1)  of
the Act 1948 included the power to fix minimum guarantee charges.  In  State
of Bihar, such rates were fixed in the year 1993  tariff.   It,  inter-alia,
provided for tariff for HT consumers. Three categories of HT consumers  were
mentioned there. HTS-I, II and  III.  Both  the  consumers  in  the  instant
appeals were put in HT-I category. HT Agreement dated 26.4.1974 was  entered
into between  the  Board  and  the  consumers.  As  per  Clause  4  of  this
Agreement, the consumers were  to  pay  to  the  Board  for  the  energy  so
supplied and registered or taken to have been supplied  at  the  appropriate
rates applicable to the consumers according to  the  tariff  framed  by  the
Board and in force from time  to  time.   It  was  subject  to  the  minimum
contract demand applicable for the category of supply category in which  the
consumers fell. Clause  4(b)  explained  that  the  maximum  demand  of  the
consumer for each month shall  be  the  largest  total  amount  of  kilovolt
amperes (KVA) that was delivered to the consumers at  the  point  of  supply
during any consecutive 30 minutes in the months. 
Since the JSEB  has  worked
out the charges as per Clause 4 (c) which it is demanding, we reproduce  the
said clause hereinbelow:

             “4(c) Maximum demand charges for supply in any  month  will  be
           based on the maximum KVA demand for the month or 75 per  cent  of
           the contract demand whichever is higher, subject to provision  of
           clause 13. For the first twelve months service the maximum demand
           charges for any month, will  however,  be  based  on  the  actual
           monthly maximum demand for that month.”



      Thus, as per the aforesaid clause, JSEB had been raising energy  bills
on the basis of 75% of the contract demand.

7.    As mentioned above, after  the  Electricity  Act,  2003  was  enacted,
power to frame tariff is given  to  the  SERC.  This  power  is  statutorily
conferred upon the SERC under the Act. However,  it  would  be  relevant  to
mention herein that before the passing of this Act,  Electricity  Regulatory
Commission Act, 1998 was enacted and under  Section  17  of  the  said  Act,
Jharkhand State Electricity Regulatory Commission  was  constituted  by  the
Government of Jharkhand vide Notification No.1763  dated  August  22,  2002.
Its functions and duties were notified by the Government as per  Section  22
of the Electricity Regulatory Commission Act.

8.    On the passing of the Electricity Act,  2003,  Electricity  Act  1910,
Electricity (Supply) Act 1948 and  Electricity  Regulatory  Commission  Act,
1998 have been repealed.  At the same time, Act 2003  recognizes  the  SERCs
constituted under the 1998 Act. The object  clause  of  this  Act  reads  as
under:

             “An  Act  to  consolidate  the  laws  relating  to  generation,
           transmission, distribution, trading and use  of  electricity  and
           generally  for  taking  measures  conducive  to  development   of
           electricity industry, promoting competition  therein,  protecting
           interest of consumers and supply of  electricity  to  all  areas,
           rationalization  of  electricity  tariff,  ensuring   transparent
           policies  regarding  subsidies,  promotion   of   efficient   and
           environmentally  benign   policies,   constitution   of   Central
           Electricity Authority, Regulatory Commissions  and  establishment
           of Appellate Tribunal and  for  matters  connected  therewith  or
           incidental thereto.”

9.    It is also not in dispute that 2004  Tariff  Schedule  framed  by  the
SERC is in exercise of powers conferred upon it under Section 86 (a) of  the
Act. In PTC India Ltd. V. Central Electricity Regulatory  Commission  (2010)
4 SCC 603 this Court has categorically held that Act, 2003 is an  exhaustive
code  on  all  matters  concerning  electricity  which  also  provides   for
“unbundling”  of  State  Electricity  Boards  into  separate  utilities  for
generation, transmission and distribution.  Further,  Regulatory  regime  is
entrusted to the State Electricity Regulatory Commissions  which  are  given
vide ranging responsibilities. This Act has distanced  the  Government  from
all  forms  of  regulations,  including  tariff  regulation  which  is   now
specifically assigned to SERC. Relevant observations, outlining  the  scheme
of this Act, are reproduced below:

            “The 2003 Act is enacted as an exhaustive code  on  all  matters
           concerning electricity. It provides for unbundling” of SEBs  into
           separate utilities for generation, transmission and distribution.
           It repeals the Electricity Act, 1910:  the  Electricity  (Supply)
           Act, 1948 and the Electricity Regulatory Commissions  Act,  1998.
           The 2003 Act, in furtherance of the policy  envisaged  under  the
           Electricity Regulatory Commissions  Act,  1998  (the  1998  Act),
           mandated the establishment  of  an  independent  and  transparent
           regulatory   mechanism,   and    has    entrusted    wide-ranging
           responsibilities with the Regulatory Commissions. While the  1998
           Act provided for independent regulation in  the  area  of  tariff
           determination: the 2003 Act has distanced the Government from all
           forms  of  regulation,  namely,  licensing,  tariff   regulation,
           specifying  Grid  Code,  facilitating  competition  through  open
           access, etc.”[Paragraph 17]

            The 2003 Act contains separate provisions for the performance of
           dual functions by  the  Commission.  Section61  is  the  enabling
           provision for framing of regulations by the  Central  Commission:
           the determination of terms and conditions of tariff has been left
           to the domain of the Regulatory Commissions under Section  61  of
           the Act whereas actual tariff  determination  by  the  Regulatory
           Commissions is covered by Section 62 of the Act. This  aspect  is
           very important for deciding  the  present  case.  Specifying  the
           terms and conditions for determination of tariff is  an  exercise
           which is different and distinct from actual tariff  determination
           in accordance with the  provisions  of  the  Act  for  supply  of
           electricity by a generating company to a distribution licensee or
           for transmission of electricity or for wheeling of electricity or
           for retail sale of electricity.

            26. The term “tariff” is not defined in the 2003 Act.  The  term
           “tariff” includes within its ambit not only the fixation of rates
           but also the rules and regulations relating to it. If  one  reads
           Section 61 with Section 62 of the 2003 Act, it becomes clear that
           the appropriate Commission shall determine the actual  tariff  in
           accordance with the provisions of the Act,  including  the  terms
           and  conditions  which  may  be  specified  by  the   appropriate
           Commission under Section 61 of the said Act. Under the 2003  Act,
           if one reads Section 62 with Section 64, it  becomes  clear  that
           although tariff fixation like price fixation  is  legislative  in
           character, the same under the Act is made applicable vide Section
           111. These provisions, namely, Sections 61, 62  and  64  indicate
           the  dual  nature  of  functions  performed  by  the   Regulatory
           Commissions  viz.  decision-making  and  specifying   terms   and
           conditions for tariff determination.”[Paragraph 25,26]  [Emphasis
           supplied]




10.   It is, thus, beyond the pale  of  doubt  that  the  State  Electricity
Boards have  no  power  whatsoever  to  frame  tariff  which  is  under  the
exclusive domain of the Commission. This legal position has been  judicially
recognized. [See Gujarat Urja Vikas Nigam Ltd. V. Essar Power  Ltd.,  (2008)
4 SCC 755 and A.P. TRANSCO v. Sai Renewable Power (P)  Ltd.  (2011)  11  SCC
34.

11.   Notwithstanding the  aforesaid  legal  position,  JSEB  contends  that
agreement entered into with the consumers in the year 1994 is saved and  the
JSEB has right to charge the tariff as per Clause 4 (c)  thereof.  According
to the JSEB this is the position because of the reason that  Clause  1.4  of
the 2004 Tariff Schedule framed by the SERC provides  for  such  a  position
and further that even Section 186 of the Act 2003 saves this  agreement.  On
these twin aspects, we have already framed question Nos. 2 and 3  above  and
would now proceed to deal with them.

      2.    Re: Whether the Agreement dated 26.4.1994 is saved by  the  2004
Tariff Schedule?

      Mr. Sinha, learned senior counsel for the JSEB submitted that  in  the
2004 Tariff Schedule there was no such provision which is contained  in  the
agreement dated 26.4.19994 particularly in Clause 4(c) and  in  the  absence
thereof in the tariff schedule energy bills raised on  the  basis  of  75  %
contract demand was  saved.  It  was  submitted  that  the  Agreement  dated
26.4.1994 is a statutory agreement as it was under  the  Act  of  1948.  The
learned senior counsel further submitted that it had never been the case  of
consumers  that  the  aforesaid  provision  was  repealed,   repudiated   or
destroyed.  It has not happened either. For this purpose, Mr.  Sinha  sought
to rely upon averments made in the Writ Petitions  filed  by  the  consumers
and on the basis it was contended that even the consumers admitted that  the
provision of 75% of contract demand is absent and not provided in  the  2004
Tariff Schedule.  He also placed strong  reliance  on  Clause  1.4  of  2004
Tariff Schedule of SERC which reads as under:

           “All other Terms and Conditions in respect of Meter Rent, Supply
           at Lower Voltage, Capacitor Charge,  Electricity  Duty,  Rebate,
           Security Deposit, Surcharge for exceeding contract demand  etc.,
           shall remain the same as existing in the State.”

           Further, the tariff order 2003-04, in Clause 5 under the heading
           Design of Tariff Structure and Analysis of Tariff,  particularly
           at Clause 5.4 has dealt with the two part tariff  structure  and
           Minimum Guarantee Charges wherein it was stated  that  “Ideally,
           the fixed/demand charge should be levied in  proportion  to  the
           demand placed by an individual consumer on the system.  This  is
           so  because  it  facilitates  the  utility   in   designing   an
           appropriate system to cater to the supply needs  of  a  consumer
           and is therefore a just and fair mechanism for recovering  fixed
           costs of the system.”




      Mr. Sinha further argued  that  Clause  4  (c)  of  the  High  Tension
Agreement dated 26.8.2004 which the Respondent Consumer has signed with  the
Board much after 1.1.2004, when the Tariff Order 2003-04 came  into  effect,
clearly specified that after commencement of power  supply,  the  respondent
shall be liable to pay KVA/Maximum  Demand  Charges  on  actual  consumption
basis in the first 12 months and after that on  the  basis  of  75%  of  the
contract demand or recorded demand, whichever is higher. This  is  uniformly
applied to similarly situated all the HTS-1 consumers.

12.   In order to  appreciate  this  argument,  we  will  have  to  construe
relevant provision of 2004 Tariff Schedule as framed by the SERC.  It  would
be pertinent to observe that the SERC fixed the tariff  on  the  request  of
the JSEB itself when it approached the SERC for this purpose. We  find  that
in the Tariff Petition filed by the JSEB before the SERC, the JSEB  did  not
propose to continue the manner of  75%  of  contract  demand  and  the  SERC
allowed the demand charge 140-KV-Month.  On perusal of the Tariff Order,  it
becomes apparent that this is divided in different sections viz., section  1
is  the  chapter  containing  ‘introduction’,  section  2  is  the   chapter
containing ‘ARR’ i.e. the Annual Revenue  Requirement  and  tariff  proposal
submitted by the Board, section 3 is  the  chapter  containing  ‘objections’
received from the  stake  holders,  section  4  is  the  chapter  containing
‘Commission’s analysis on ARR’, Section 5 is the chapter containing  ‘design
of tariff structure and analysis  of  tariff’,  section  6  is  the  chapter
containing ‘Directions to the  JSEB’  and  finally  there  is  Annexure  5.1
containing the ‘Tariff Schedule’. This Tariff Schedule which  is  the  final
outcome of the tariff process is binding on the State as well. The  relevant
portion  of  the  Annexure  5.1  of  the  tariff  order  wherein  the  State
Commission has dealt with the tariff applicability  upon  the  High  Tension
Service (HTS) consumers i.e.  category  applicable  to  Respondent  No.1  is
reproduced below:

                 “Category: High Tension Service (HTS)

            1. Applicability

            For consumers having contract demand above 100 kVA

            2. Character of service

            50 cycles, 3 Phase at 6.6. KV/11 Kv/33 kV or 132 kV.

            3. Tariff

            Tariff for HTS

|DESCRIPTION                         |TARIFF*                              |
|RS./kVA/month                       |DEMAND CHARGE                        |
|HTS                                 |140                                  |
|                                    |                                     |
|                                    |ENERGY CHARGE                        |
|KWh/month                           |Rs/KWh                               |
|All consumption                     |4.00                                 |
|                                    |                                     |
|                                    |Monthly              minimum         |
|                                    |charge                               |
|For Supply at 11 and 33 kV          |Rs.250/kVA                           |
|For Supply at 132 KV                |Rs.400/kVA                           |



13.     However,   as   stated   above,   the    JSEB    itself    in    its
application/reference to the  SERC  did  not  ask  for  fixing  any  minimum
guarantee charges. It would be relevant to mention  that  the  JSEB  in  its
proposal  for  fixation  of  tariff  for  2003-04,  submitted   before   the
Regulatory Commission, indicated both the existing  tariff  and  the  tariff
proposed by it in respect of all consumers, including all categories of  HTS
(High Tension Service) consumers. The SERC after undertaking  the  necessary
exercise, fixed the tariff of all categories. The  tariff  proposed  by  the
Board for HTS-I consumers  along  with  existing  tariff  is  reproduced  in
Tables 5.28 and 5.29 of the 2004 Tariff Schedule which will clearly  reflect
that the aspect of minimum guarantee charges  was  duly  considered  by  the
SERC. To demonstrate it, we reproduce the said two tables hereunder:

            5.28 Tariff for HTS-II Consumers (Existing/Proposed )

|                DESCRIPTION         |                          TARIFF     |


                                       DEMAND CHARGE

|                        |              Existing  |        Proposed        |
|Rs./KVA/Month           |              115       |              200       |


                                          ENERGY CHARGE

|Rs./KWH                 |             Existing   |         Proposed       |
|All Consumption         |              1.72      |             4.30       |


                                      FUEL SURCHARGE CHARGE

|Rs./KWH                 |              2.44      |               -        |


Annual Minimum Guarantee (AMG) Charge

|                        |Subject to minimum      |The following AMG charge|
|                        |contract demand for this|shall be realized from  |
|                        |category, monthly       |the consumer as per     |
|                        |minimum demand charge as|appropriate tariff.     |
|                        |per appropriate tariff  |                        |
|                        |based on actual maximum |AMG Charge based on load|
|                        |demand of that month or |factor of 30% and power |
|                        |75% of the contract     |factor 0.9 on contract  |
|                        |demand whichever is     |demand payable at the   |
|                        |higher.                 |rate of energy charge   |
|                        |Energy charges based on |applicable to HTS-II    |
|                        |load factor of 30% and  |category.               |
|                        |power factor 0.85 on    |                        |
|                        |contracted demand       |                        |
|                        |payable at the rate of  |                        |
|                        |Rs.1.72/KWH             |                        |




      5.29 Tariff for EHTS Consumers (Existing/Proposed)

|              DESCRIPTION           |                 TARIFF              |


                             DEMAND CHARGE

|                        |     Existing           |             Proposed   |
|Rs./KVA/Month           |        110             |                200     |


                                       ENERGY CHARGE

|Rs./KWH                 |     Existing           |             Proposed   |
|All Consumption         |         4.13           |                 4.15   |


                                       FUEL SURCHARGE

|Rs./KWH                 |          2.44          |                    -   |


                           Annual Minimum Guarantee (AMG) Charge

|                        |Subject to minimum      |The following AMG charge|
|                        |contract demand for this|shall be realized from  |
|                        |category, monthly       |the consumer as per     |
|                        |minimum demand charge as|appropriate tariff.     |
|                        |per appropriate tariff  |                        |
|                        |based on actual maximum |                        |
|                        |demand of that month or |AMG Charge based on load|
|                        |75% of the contract     |factor of 50% and power |
|                        |demand whichever is     |factor 0.9 on contract  |
|                        |higher                  |demand payable at the   |
|                        |                        |rate of energy charge   |
|                        |Energy charges based on |applicable to EHTS      |
|                        |load factor of 50% and  |category.               |
|                        |power factor 0.85 on    |                        |
|                        |contracted demand       |                        |
|                        |payable at the rate of  |                        |
|                        |Rs.1.69/KWH             |                        |






14.   The tariff order further reveals that the SERC had even  compared  the
proposal of JSEB with the tariff prevailing in other  States  in  India  and
after detailed analysis thereof, it approved the tariff  for  HTS  consumers
which is mentioned in table 5.31 of the 2004 Tariff Schedule. Therefore,  it
cannot be said that the  SERC  was  oblivious  of  the  clause  relating  to
minimum guarantee charges which JSEB was charging from its consumers as  per
the earlier agreements entered into with them.  The  position  would  become
crystal clear from the following discussion  in  the  2004  Tariff  Schedule
wherein the SCRC gave  specific  reasons  for  revising  and  approving  the
tariff for HTS consumers.

            The SERC has filed its response to these  appeals,  wherein  the
          provision in this behalf is explained in the manner  noted  below:
          “It is evident from the  above  table  that  there  is  no  common
          approach  towards  minimum  charge.   However,   if   we   compare
          neighbouring States like Orissa, West Bengal  and  Madhya  Pradesh
          (supply at less than 132 KVA), there  is  no  minimum  charge.  As
          mentioned earlier, the Commission would ideally like to scrap this
          charge, but for current year it has retained this  charge  due  to
          lack of information and data to ascertain the true impact of  this
          charge. The Commission has already directed the Board  to  provide
          details in this regard in the next petition.

            For the current year, the Commission would not like to  increase
          the burden on the industries on account of minimum charge and  has
          therefore  attempted  to  keep  it  at  the  existing  level.  The
          Commission has assumed a minimum level of  supply  and  a  minimum
          level of consumption. For this, the Commission has considered  10%
          load factor for HTS-I and HTS-II categories considering an average
          consumption of two (2) hours in a day. For  EHTS  and  HT  Special
          load factor  of  20%  and  30%  respectively  has  been  taken  by
          considering an average consumption of four (4) hours and seven (7)
          hours in a day respectively. The Commission observes that if these
          categories of industries are not able  to  maintain  this  minimum
          load factor, than they should reduce their  contracted  load.  The
          Commission  would  like  to  explicitly  mention   that   if   the
          consumption exceeds the mentioned load factor, no  minimum  charge
          would be applicable.

            For encouraging consumption, the Commission has also  introduced
          a load factor rebate for all industries consumers. For the  entire
          consumption in excess of this defined load  factor,  a  rebate  is
          provided on the energy charges for such  excess  consumption.  The
          Commission would have liked to align the tariff structure  towards
          cost of  supply  during  the  current  year  itself,  but  it  was
          constrained due to the huge tariff shock that it  would  translate
          into for other consumes and consequent increase  that  would  have
          been required in tariff for other categories. Thus as a  principle
          the Commission has taken the  first  step  towards  reducing  this
          distortion in the tariff structure. The Commission is conscious of
          the fact that HT industry in Jharkhand  has  borne  the  brunt  of
          cross subsidy in the past and the tariff  applicable  to  them  is
          above the cost of supply. The significance  of  this  step  should
          not, however, be judged by the quantitative decline but the signal
          and intent whereby the Commission intends to  further  rationalize
          the tariff in the future.”




15.   We would like to reproduce the following discussion  in  the  impugned
judgment  of  the  High  Court,  as  we  are  in  agreement  therewith   the
observations made in those paragraphs:

            “……10.We are concerned with the Demand Charge  only,  rather  to
           say not concerned with the Demand Charge itself but the manner in
           which the Demand Charge can be  calculated  for  the  purpose  of
           raising demand against the consumer charging of the Demand Charge
           “has been allowed in Tariff Order 2003-04 @ Rs.140/- as mentioned
           at page 141 of the Tariff Order. As we have already noticed  that
           a formula was given in Clause 15.2 in the tariff of 1993 as  well
           as in the contract on the basis of which the Board  was  charging
           the Demand Charge on the basis of the actual consumed  units  but
           was charging the said amount irrespective of the  consumption  of
           the units of electricity. Now the contention of  the  respondent-
           writ petitioners is that they are liable only  according  to  the
           units consumed by them and not according to the formula. We found
           from  Board’s  proposal  contained  in  Table   5.27   that   the
           Electricity Board consciously (or  may  inadvertently)  submitted
           its proposal only to  the  effect  that  existing  annual  Demand
           Charge is Rs.125/- per KVA per month. This proposal of the  Board
           was considered and ultimately the Demand Charge  was  allowed  by
           the Tariff Order of 2003-04 which  is  mentioned  at  page  141by
           which only it has been approved that the Electricity Board  shall
           be entitled to charge Rs.140/- per KVA per month as  proposed  by
           the Board, the Tariff Order of 2003-04 increased it  to  Rs.140/-
           only.

                  11. In view of the above reasons, we cannot hold that  the
           Electricity Regulatory Commission has not considered the proposal
           of the Electricity Board with respect to their claim  for  Demand
           Charge and the manner in which it will be charged……”

                  12.In view of the above facts, we are  of  the  considered
           opinion that the appellant-Board cannot take help of Clause  5.1.
           wherein Electricity Regulatory Commission  wherein  it  has  been
           observed that some of the matters have not been  dealt  with  and
           they shall continue to be the same as they were in  existence  in
           the State because of the reason that there is a specific proposal
           made by the Electricity Board for the Demand Charge  as  well  as
           the manner in which it will be  charged  and  this  proposal  was
           considered  by  the   Electricity   Regulatory   Commission   and
           thereafter Tariff Order has been issued…”




16.   To put the matter beyond the pale of controversy,  we  would  like  to
highlight another fact,  namely   the  JSEB  had  even  filed  clarification
applications before the SERC contending that having  regard  to  the  Clause
4(c) of the Agreement with the HT-I consumers, the  maximum  demand  charges
would be  those  prescribed  under  Clause  4(c)  of  the  Agreement.  These
applications were specifically rejected by the  Commission.  No  appeal  was
preferred by the JSEB challenging those orders. It is, therefore,  too  late
in the day for the JSEB to now argue that this aspect of  minimum  guarantee
charge has not been dealt with by the SERC in the 2004 Tariff Schedule.



      3. Re.: Effect of Section 185 of the Electricity Act 2003.

      Submission  of  Mr.  Sinha,  learned  senior  counsel,  predicated  on
Section 185 (2)(a) of the Electricity Act and Section 6 (B) of  the  General
Clauses Act, was that by virtue  of  the  aforesaid  provision  the  earlier
Agreement of 1994, including  Clause 4(c) thereof entered into  between  the
Electricity Board and the consumers was saved. Section 185(2)(a) of the  Act
reads as under:

            “anything done or any action taken or  purported  to  have  been
           done or taken including any rule, notification, inspection, order
           or notice made or issued  or  any  appointment,  confirmation  or
           declaration made or any  license,  permission,  authorization  or
           exemption granted or any document or instrument executed  or  any
           direction given under the repealed laws shall, in so far as it is
           not inconsistent with the provisions of this Act,  be  deemed  to
           have been done or taken under  the  corresponding  provisions  of
           this Act.”




       We  also  reproduce  Section  6(B)  of  the   General   Clauses   Act
hereinbelow:

            “affect the previous operation of any enactment so  repealed  or
           anything duly done or suffered thereunder; or”




17.   It was the submission that since all the  actions deemed to have  been
done or taken under the corresponding  provision  of  the  earlier  Act  are
saved, the Agreement in question which was entered into by  the  Electricity
Board in exercise of statutory power and was having legal  force,  had  been
saved under the aforesaid provisions. To prop  this  submission,  Mr.  Sinha
also referred to the judgment of this Court in the case of Himachal  Pradesh
State Electricity Regulatory Commission & Anr.  v.  Himachal  Pradesh  State
Electricity Board (2013) 12 SCALE 397 with the plea that  this  very  aspect
had been specifically dealt with in the  aforesaid  judgment  and  therefore
the issue was no longer res-integra.  Mr. Sinha pointed  out  that  in  that
case the courts specifically dealt with the  effect  of  repealed  provision
contained in Section 185 of the Act, 2003 read  with  Section  6(B)  of  the
General Clauses Act and held that the previous agreements were saved  unless
it could be pointed out that there  was  a  manifest  intention  to  destroy
them.  He referred to the following passage from  the  earlier  judgment  in
the case of State of Punjab vs. Mohar  Singh  1955  (1)  SCR  893  which  is
quoted in the aforesaid judgment and reads as under:

                   “Whenever  there  is  a  repeal  of  an  enactment,   the
          consequences laid down in Section 6 of  the  General  Clauses  Act
          will follow unless,  as  the  section  itself  says,  a  different
          intention appears. In  the  case  of  a  simple  repeal  there  is
          scarcely any room for expression of a contrary opinion.  But  when
          the repeal is followed by fresh legislation on the same subject we
          would undoubtedly have to look to the provisions of the  new  Act,
          but only for the purpose of determining whether  they  indicate  a
          different intention. The line of enquiry would be, not whether the
          new Act expressly keeps  alive  old  rights  and  liabilities  but
          whether it manifests an  intention  to  destroy  them.  We  cannot
          therefore subscribe to the broad proposition that section 6 of the
          General Clauses Act is ruled  out  when  there  is  repeal  of  an
          enactment followed by a fresh  legislation.  Section  6  would  be
          applicable in such cases also unless the new legislation manifests
          an intention incompatible with or contrary to  the  provisions  of
          the section. Such incompatibility would  have  to  be  ascertained
          from a consideration of all the relevant provisions of the new law
          and the mere absence of a saving clause is by itself not material.
          It is in the light of these principles  that  we  now  proceed  to
          examine the facts of the present case.”

                                        (underlining is ours)

      He also banked upon the following discussion in the said judgment:

            “We have referred to the aforesaid paragraphs  as  Mr.Gupta  has
           contended  that  when  there  is  repeal  of  an  enactment   and
           substitution of new law, ordinarily the vested right of  a  forum
           has to perish. On reading of Section  185  of  the  2003  Act  in
           entirety, it is difficult to accept the submission that  even  if
           Section 6 of the General Clauses Act would apply, then  also  the
           same does not save the forum of appeal. We do  not  perceive  any
           contrary intention that 6 of the General Clauses Act would not be
           applicable. It is also to be kept in mind  that  the  distinction
           between what is and what is not a right by the provisions of  the
           Section 6 of the General  Clauses  Act  is  often  one  of  great
           fitness. What is unaffected by the repeal of a statute is a right
           acquired or accrued under it and not a mere hope, or  expectation
           of, or liberty to apply for, acquiring right  (See  M.S.Shivanand
           v.Karnataka   State   Road   Transport   Corporation   and   Ors.
           MANU/SC/0371/1979: (1980) 1 SCC 149).”



18.   In order to  appreciate  this  argument,  we  will  have  to  traverse
through some salient provision of the agreement of 1994  entered  into  with
the consumers. These are paras 4(c) and 11 of the HT agreement:

                  “4..(c) Maximum demand charge for supply in any month will
           be based on the maximum KVA demand for the month of  75%  of  the
           contract demand whichever is  higher,  subject  to  provision  of
           clause 13……..

                  11. This agreement shall be read and construed as  subject
           to the provisions of the  Indian  Electricity  Act,  1910,  rules
           framed thereunder, the Electricity  (Supply)  Act  1948  together
           with rules, regulations (if any) tariffs and terms and conditions
           for supply of electricity framed and issued  thereunder  and  for
           the time being in force as far as the same  may  respectively  be
           applicable and all such provisions shall prevail in case  of  any
           conflict  or  inconsistency  between  them  and  the  terms   and
           conditions of this agreement.”



 19.  It is also to be borne in mind that the tariff  in  force  during  the
 period was Tariff Order dated 27.12.2003 for the period 2003-04  which  was
 having force of law under the Electricity Act  2003.   Thus,  what  follows
 from the above is that even if we proceed on the basis that  the  statutory
 agreements entered into earlier  were  saved,  the  agreement  in  question
 stands replaced by 2004 Tariff Schedule.
At this juncture, we  would  like
 to refer to the judgment of this Court in the case of BSES  v.  Tata  Power
 Co.Ltd. (2004) 1 SCC 195  wherein  following  pertinent  observations  were
 made.

           “16. The word “tariff” has not been defined in the Act.  “Tariff”
           is a cartel of commerce and normally it is a book  of  rates.  It
           will mean a schedule of standard prices or  charges  provided  to
           the category or categories of customers specified in the  tariff.
           Sub-section (1) of Section 22 clearly lays down  that  the  State
           Commission shall determine the tariff for electricity (wholesale,
           bulk,  grid  or  retail)  and  also  for  use   of   transmission
           facilities. It has also the power to regulate power  purchase  of
           the distribution utilities including the price at which the power
           shall be procured from the generating companies for transmission,
           sale, distribution and supply in the State.  “Utility”  has  been
           defined in Section 2(1) of the Act and it  means  any  person  or
           entity   engaged   in   the   generation,   transmission,   sale,
           distribution or supply, as the case may be, of energy. Section 29
           lays down that the tariff for  the  intra-State  transmission  of
           electricity and tariff for supply  of  electricity  —  wholesale,
           bulk or retail — in a State shall be subject to the provisions of
           the  Act  and  the  tariff  shall  be  determined  by  the  State
           Commission. Sub-section (2) of Section 29 shows  that  the  terms
           and conditions for fixation of  tariff  shall  be  determined  by
           Regulations and while doing so, the Commission shall be guided by
           the factors  enumerated  in  clauses  (a)  to  (g)  thereof.  The
           Regulations referred to earlier show  that  generating  companies
           and utilities have to first approach the Commission for  approval
           of   their   tariff   whether   for   generation,   transmission,
           distribution or supply and  also  for  terms  and  conditions  of
           supply. They can charge from their  customers  only  such  tariff
           which has been approved by the Commission. Charging of  a  tariff
           which has not been approved by the Commission is an offence which
           is punishable under Section 45 of the Act. The provisions of  the
           Act and Regulations show that the Commission  has  the  exclusive
           power to  determine  the  tariff.  The  tariff  approved  by  the
           Commission is final and binding and it is not permissible for the
           licensee, utility or anyone else to charge a different tariff.”


 20.  In view of the above, we are of the opinion  that  even  the  argument
 based on Section 185 of the Electricity  Act,  2003  would  not  bring  any
 change to the results of this  case.  We,  thus,  do  not  fault  with  the
 judgment of the High Court appealed against.

 21.  Before we part with, it is necessary to deal with one more argument of
 the appellant. It was submitted that there was delay  in  filing  the  Writ
 Petitions inasmuch as bills raised by the JSEB on the basis of Clause  4(c)
 of the 1994 Agreement, even after the formulation of 2004  Tariff  Schedule
 were being paid by the consumers and they approached the  Court  by  filing
 Writ Petitions only in the year 2010. Thus, there was a delay  and  latches
 of 5 years. It is further argued that in such scenario, the High  Court  at
 least should not have directed the appellants to refund the  excess  amount
 charged under the bills raised for earlier period. Other related submission
 was that it would be unjust enrichment to  the  consumers  who  would  have
 recovered the amount from the user of the electricity.

 22.  In so far as delay in  filing  the  Writ  Petition  is  concerned,  it
 appears from  the  chronology  of  events  that  the  same  has  been  duly
 explained. It is not in doubt that the consumers had  paid  the  amount  of
 bills raised by JSEB under protest because of the threat of  disconnection.
 While doing so, they had raised specific plea with the JSEB that it was now
 supposed to raise the bills in accordance with the  2004  Tariff  Schedule.
 The matter remained under consideration at the level  of  JSEB  which  kept
 approaching the Court as well as SERC seeking clarification of 2004  Tariff
 Schedule. As already pointed out  above,  clarification  applications  were
 filed which were dismissed by the Commission. However, as the JSEB did  not
 judge from its stand even after the dismissal of  these  applications,  the
 consumers approached the Court and  filed  the  Writ  Petitions.  The  Writ
 Petitioners have thus furnished satisfactory explanation for  approach  the
 Court.

 23.  The plea of unjust  and  enrichment  will  not  be  available  to  the
 appellants. In the first place, no such plea was  raised  before  the  High
 Court either before the learned Single Judge or the Division Bench.  In the
 Special Leave Petition, this submission was made for the first time at  the
 time of hearing of the present appeals. Moreover,  it  is  not  a  case  of
 payment of tax which is a burden passed on the consumers.  It  is  only  in
 such cases that was held in Mafatlal Industries Ltd.  vs.  Union  of  India
 (1997) 5 SCC 536 that the question of unjust  enrichment  would  arise  for
 consideration. As far as issue  like  the  present  is  concerned,  such  a
 question was left open in para 107 of the aforesaid judgment. The Court had
 made it clear the concept of  unjust  enrichment  had  no  application  for
 refunds other than taxes, as is clear from the reading thereof.

            “107. A Clarification: The situation  in  the  case  of  captive
           consumption has not been dealt with by us  in  this  opinion.  We
           leave that question open.”































 24.  As a result, we find that the appeals are bereft of any merit and  are
 accordingly dismissed. No costs.




                                              …………………………..J.
                                              (K.S.Radhakrishnan)






                                              …………………………..J.
                                              (A.K.Sikri)
 New Delhi,
 Dt. February 28, 2014.









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