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Matter touches employment scheme of society in general, says HC while staying Chandigarh Electricity Wing’s privatisation

The bench meanwhile also stated that the matter is to be heard within six months after the resumption of normal functioning of the Court, and the parties are directed to complete the pleadings in the meantime.

Written by Jagpreet Singh Sandhu | Chandigarh | December 3, 2020 12:16:00 pm
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Staying the notice inviting bids for privatising the electricity wing of the Chandigarh Administration, the Punjab and Haryana High Court observed, “the matter will require detailed deliberations as it touches the employment scheme of the society in general.”

The division bench of Justice Jitendra Chauhan, and Justice Vivek Puri, in the order pronounced on December 1, held, “The operation and effect of the impugned Office Memorandum dated 10.06.2020 (Annexure P-3) and Notice Inviting Bids dated 10.11.2020 (Annexure P-14) shall remain stayed till further orders”.

The bench meanwhile also stated that the matter is to be heard within six months after the resumption of normal functioning of the Court, and the parties are directed to complete the pleadings in the meantime. “In case, the matter is not taken up within the stipulated period, the parties shall be free to move an application for getting the matter fixed on an actual date”, read the order.

The order was passed after the UT Powermen Union challenged the UT Electricity wing’s privatisation.

The counsel for petitioners, senior advocate Sunil Chadha and Akshay Chadha, have contended that there is no provision of privatisation under the Electricity Act, 2003. No provision has been framed for reservation policy for the OBC, BC, sports personnel, ex-army personnel and various deprived sections of the society. The action of the Chandigarh Administration in taking effective steps to privatise its electricity wing by selling of 100 per cent stake of the government is not legally sustainable, the same being violative of Section 131 (2) of the Act, as per which the power department/utility cannot be transferred to a totally private entity with no stake or control of the government at all.

The sale of UT Admin’s 100 per cent stake in the electricity wing, which is running in profits and is revenue surplus for the past three years and is also economically efficient having T and D losses less than 15 per cent the target fixed by the Ministry of Power is unjust and illegal.

The transfer scheme has been prepared without calling for objections of all stakeholders.

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