High Court of Punjab and Haryana, Chandigarh
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Sube Singh v. Dakshin Haryana Bijli Vitran Nigam & Anr - RSA-2240-2003  RD-P&H 3026 (9 May 2006)
IN THE HIGH COURT FOR THE STATES OF PUNJAB AND HARYANA AT CHANDIGARH
R.S.A. No.2240 of 2003
Date of decision: May 12, 2006.
Dakshin Haryana Bijli Vitran Nigam & Anr.
Present: Shri Sudhir Aggarwal, Advocate for the petitioner.
Shri Bijender Dhankar, Advocate for the respondents.
Surya Kant, J. (Oral)
This regular second appeal has been preferred by the plaintiff whose suit for declaration to the effect that the penalty of Rs.30,160/- was erroneously imposed on him, has been dismissed by both the courts.
On a perusal of the findings returned by the first appellate court in para 9 of the impugned judgment dated 15.3.2003, it is evident that the appellant has been non-suited on two counts. Firstly, the courts have taken the view that in terms of the rules framed under the Indian Electricity Act, the jurisdiction of the civil court is ousted and secondly, the appellant has not deposited 40% of the amount outstanding against him, therefore, also his suit could not be entertained on merits.
R.S.A. No.2240 of 2003 -: 2 :-
As far as the first ground taken against the appellant is concerned, Learned Counsel for the appellant has relied upon a Full Bench judgment of this Court in the case of M/s Ranbaxy Laboratories Ltd. v.
Punjab State Electricity Board, Patiala, (2004-2) PLR 101 wherein it was held that since under the Electricity (Supply) Act, 1948, no alternative dispute settlement mechanism was established, the jurisdiction of the civil court cannot be held to have been ousted. As regards the second reasoning, Learned Counsel for the appellant undertakes that the appellant is ready and willing to deposit 40% of the outstanding dues as on date.
Learned Counsel for the respondents has taken a fair stand that in case of deposit of 40% of the amount outstanding, he will have no objection if the appellant's suit is re-adjudicated by the courts below in accordance with law.
After hearing Learned Counsel for the parties and having regard to the fact that vital issue as to whether the jurisdiction of the civil court stands ousted in terms of the scheme framed by the respondent authorities under the Electricity (Supply) Act, 1948, now requires reconsideration by the courts below in the light of the law enunciated by the Full Bench in the case of M/s Ranbaxy Laboratories Ltd. (supra), this appeal is allowed and the judgments and decrees of the courts below are set aside. Consequently, the matter is remitted to the learned civil court to re- adjudicate the same on the basis of the evidence already led by the parties.
It is, however, made clear that the appellant shall have to deposit 40% of the outstanding dues as on date and then only his suit will be considered on merits. It is also clarified that the observations made hreinabove are not a final opinion with regard to the jurisdiction of the civil court to entertain the R.S.A. No.2240 of 2003 -: 3 :-
present suit and the said question shall be gone into by the learned trial court after framing an additional issue in relation thereto.
Parties are directed to appear before the trial court on 24.7.2006.
May 12, 2006. [ Surya Kant ]
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