3. On 7th November, 2008, a two Judges Bench in Paschimanchal Vidyut Vitran Nigam Ltd. & Ors. vs. M/s. DVS Steels & Alloys Pvt. Ltd. & Ors. [C.A. No.6565 of 2008] held that "when the purchaser of a premises approaches the distributor seeking a fresh electricity connection to its premises for supply of electricity, the distributor can stipulate the terms subject to which it would supply electricity. It can stipulate as one of the conditions for supply, that the arrears due in regard to the supply of electricity made to the premises when it was in the occupation of the previous owner/occupant, should be cleared before the electricity supply is restored to the premises or a fresh connection is provided to the premises. If any statutory rules govern the conditions relating to sanction of a connection or supply of electricity, the distributor can insist upon fulfillment of the requirements of such rules and regulations. If the rules are silent, it can stipulate such terms and conditions as it deems fit and proper, to regulate its transactions and dealings. So long as such rules and regulations or the terms and conditions are not arbitrary and unreasonable, courts will not interfere with them."
The Bench observed that "a stipulation by the distributor that the dues in regard to the electricity supplied to the premises should be cleared before electricity supply is restored or a new connection is given to a premises, cannot be termed as unreasonable or arbitrary. In the absence of such a stipulation, an unscrupulous consumer may commit defaults with impunity, and when the electricity supply is disconnected for non-payment, may sell away the property and move on to another property, thereby making it difficult, if not impossible for the distributor to recover the dues. Having regard to the very large number of consumers of electricity and the frequent moving or translocating of industrial, commercial and residential establishments, provisions similar to clause 4.3(g) and (h) of Electricity Supply Code are necessary to safeguard the interests of the distributor."
The Bench did not "find anything unreasonable in a provision enabling the distributor/supplier, to disconnect electricity supply if dues are not paid, or where the electricity supply has already been disconnected for non-payment, insist upon clearance of arrears before a fresh electricity connection is given to the premises."
It is the "duty of the purchasers/occupants of premises to satisfy themselves that there are no electricity dues before purchasing/occupying a premises. They can also incorporate in the deed of sale or lease, appropriate clauses making the vendor/lessor responsible for clearing the electricity dues up to the date of sale/lease and for indemnity in the event they are made liable", said the Bench.