Penalized for ‘non-compliance’, Article 370 saved J&K power ministry

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Balwant Singh Bhau

 

Having virtually decided to flout all the rules and regulations, the previous NC- Congress coalition government to refuge under article 370 of the constitution of India when it was published for violating Central Electricity Regulatory Commission regulations 2009.

According to an official document available with Newspoint Bureau, Power Development Department of Jammu & Kashmir was asked by the Central electricity Regulatory Commission to open letter of credit as mandated by CERC regulations 2009. PDP refused to open the letter of credit, following which a penalty of RS 1 lakh was imposed on it vide order dated 30-8-2012 in petition no. 201/SM/2011.

As has been the norms in Jammu & Kashmir, PDD refuse to comply with the order of CERC and despite repeated reminders refused to deposit the penalty amount. Following this CERC initiated action against under section 142 of the Central electricity Act 203 against both the Power Development Department and the secretary of the department vide order date 18-7-2013.

During the hearing of the petition on 13-8-2013, the state government raised a preliminary objection that the electricity act 2003 does not extend to the state of J&K. It further said that CERC has no jurisdiction over J&K and hence it has reason to comply with the directions of this commission.

Not only this, to save itself from being penalized for violating CERC norms, the then power ministry which was then headed by the then Chief Minister Omar Abdullah brought in article 370 and silenced CERC. According to the documents available with Newspoint Bureau, J&K government stated that it enjoys special status under article 370 of constitution of India while adding that one of the key feature of the article is that legislations enacted by the Parliament of India do not extend to the state of J&K.

Till such time the President of India in constitution with the government of J&K declares them applicable to the state of J&K. The then government has further said that the electricity act 2003 enacted y the parliament clearly stated in its section 1(2) of the electricity act 2003 that is extended to the whole of India except the state of J&K.

The then government has further informed the commission that it does not have the legislative mandate to decide the issues pertaining to J&K. The then power ministry had even gone to the extent of saying that the orders passed by CERC were persuasive and not mandatory in nature.

However it had consoled CERC by saying that it was considering orders passed by it in the right earnest and had already started consultations both with the finance and law department. This was followed by northern region load dispatch centre approaching Delhi High Court in petition no 194/SM/2013 dated 8-10-2013 and writ petition no. 6599/2013 questioning the jurisdiction of CERC or PDD J&K.

This led to CERC falling silent with the plea that since the objection regarding Jurisdiction of the commission was raised in the petition it refrained from issuing any order in this regard. The petition was last heard on 6-11-2015.

 

 

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