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OFFENCE OF THEFT OF ELECTRICITY.

(Querist) 09 February 2009 This query is : Resolved 
Dear Sirs,

For the first time in our country, the Electricity Act 2003 has provided for a provision under its section 153 for the constitution of Special Courts for trial of offences referred to in different section of the Act. The said special Courts are empowered with the power to determine the civil liability also under subsection 5 of Sectionb 154 of the Electricity Act and by virtue of the provisions of section 155 of the Act, such special courts hav power of Court of Session.

As per the provisions under section 145 of the Electricity Act 2003, the jurisdiction of civil courts have also been barred in respect of certain matters stipulated therein.Section 135 of the Act deals with the theft of electricity while section 126 deals with unauathorised use of electricity. There is a specific provision under section 127 of the Act for appeal againist the decision of assessing officer made under section 126 whereas for theft of electricity, the remedy lies to the Special Courts created under section 153.



Now my question is, whether considering the aftersaid provisions it can be concluded that no other courts/forum other than the Special Court has jurisdiction for trial of offences and other related matters including determination of civil liability for theft of electricity or not. Further, whether the consumer courts are competent to interfere in the case of proceedings for theft or unautherised use electricity cases initiated by the Electricity Companies or not.

Further, considering the fact that specific appellate forum has been provided for unauthorised use of electricity cases, whether it would be tenable for the consumer forum to interfere with such cases or not.

Sorry for the lengthy question, but the issues are of vital importance to all persons and therefore, may I request the experts to throw more lights with legal authorities please.
M. PIRAVI PERUMAL (Expert) 09 February 2009
As far as Consumer Fora is concerned they can adjudicate the complaint. Thoug separate Courts has been formed for Economic Offences like swindling of money from consumers by finance companies etc. The Consumer Fora is adjudicating complaint. Though Postal Act, Telegraph Act are already their and the Consumer Fora are adjudicating the complaint on it.
A. A. JOSE (Querist) 10 February 2009
Thank you Perumal sir. However, may I request all experts to consider pros & cons of the issues deeply and throw light on the same with settled authorities, if any in support of the viewpoint please.
A. A. JOSE (Querist) 10 February 2009
Dear Sirs/Madams,

Kindly contribute further views in the matter.

Thanks in advance.
PALNITKAR V.V. (Expert) 11 February 2009
The bar created on civil court is limited. Sec. 145 is like this.
Civil court not to have jurisdiction
145.

No civil court shall have jurisdiction to entertain any suit or proceeding in respect of any matter which an assessing officer referred to in section 126 or an appellate authority referred to in section 127 or the adjudicating officer appointed under this Act is empowered by or under this Act to determine and no injunction shall be granted by any court or other authority in respect of any action taken or to be taken in pursuance of any power conferred by or under this Act.

Secondly, the consumer forum deals with grievances made by the consumers relating to deficiency in service and other matters covered by Consumer Protection Act. Theft of electricity or unauthorised use of electricity cases are not covered by the Act.
B.B.R.Goud. (Expert) 23 February 2009
i do agree with the palnitkar


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