Himachal HC bars coercive action by power board against local bodies for recovery of dues

Shimla/July 12
Himachal High Court on Friday restrained the State Electricity Board from taking any coercive action against action against the local bodies in the state except Municipal Corpoartion Shimla and Municipal Council Mandi in respect of the outstanding dues.
The decision has been taken in principle as an agreement has been arrived at between the State government and the Electricity Board to resolve the dispute.
The Division Bench comprising Chief Justice AM Khanwilkar and Justice RB Misra passed the orders as the Advocate General informed the Court that the Himachal government has decided to own the liability and pay the outstanding dues of local bodies other than the Municipal Corpoartion Shimla and Municipal Council Mandi, considering the Public interest involved and inconvenience caused to general public due to disconnection of electricity to local bodies.
The Electricity Board informed the Court that out of the total outstanding dues of Rs 91.88 crores, a sum of Rs 66.83 crores has been recovered by the Board and out of the remaining Rs 25.05 crores, the amount of Rs 10.34 crores is payable by local bodies other than Municipal Corpoartion, Shimla and Municipal Council, Mandi.
In the previous hearing on the matter on June 21, Shimla Municipal Corporation had informed the Court that Electricity Board also owes substantial amount to the extent of Rs 2.30 crores to MC Shimla even after setting off their claim.
The Electricity Board had also submitted that the issue was being examined at appropriate level and joint decision will be taken by MC Shimla and Electricity Board. In view of this, the Court had directed the Board not to take any action against MC, Shimla in respect of the outstanding dues.
The Court also directed the Electricity Board to take steps to restore supply to the said local bodies once the agreement between the government and Electricity Board is finalized and obligation of parties discharged.
However, the Court also directed the Board to proceed in accordance with law as regards the recovery of outstanding amount from consumers other than the local bodies and posted the matter for August 6.