Orissa State Electricity Board Vs. Orissa Tiles Limited  INSC 178
(31 March 1993)
Reddy, B.P. (J) Jeevan Reddy, B.P. (J) Venkatachala N. (J)
1993 SCR (2) 860 1993 SCC Supl. (3) 481 JT 1993 (3) 613 1993 SCALE (2)324
Electricity Act, 1910.
between Electricity Board and Consumer--Provision for minimum charges--Default
in payment of electricity charges--Disconnection of supply--Liability of
consumer to pay minimum charges for period subsequent to date of disconnection
of supply--Consumer held liable to pay minimum charges for period subsequent to
respondent-industry entered into an agreement with the appellant-Board for
supply of electricity on 5th
March, 1965. Under the
agreement, which was valid for five years i.e. upto 5th March 1970, consumer was obliged to pay certain minimum charges in any
event. However, on 30th
April, 1968 supply of
electricity to respondent was disconnected for non-payment of electricity
charges. Since the respondent also failed to pay the minimum charges for the
period subsequent to the date of disconnection, the Electricity Board riled a
suit for the amount due on account of the electricity consumed upto April 30, 1968 and for the minimum charges from May 1, 1968 to March 5, 1970.
The Trial Court decreed the suit.
respondent preferred an appeal before the High Court which sustained the Trial
Court's decree only for the period upto the date of disconnection but
disallowed the claim for the period subsequent to the date of disconnection on
the ground that since the respondent did not avail of any energy whatsoever
during the period subsequent to the disconnection it was not liable to pay the
minimum charges for that person.
appeal to this Court it was contended on behalf of the Electricity Board that
in view of the judgment of this Court in the case of Bihar State Electricity
Board, Patna and Ors. v. M/s Creen Rubber
Industries and Ors.,  1 S.C.C. 731 the respondent was liable to pay the
minimum charges for the period subsequent to disconnection.
Allowing the appeal and setting aside the order of the High Court, this Court,
Clause (13) of the agreement between the parties does oblige the consumer to
pay a certain minimum charges in any event. The judgment and decree of the
Trial Court is restored. [862 E, 863 D] Bihar State Electricity Board, Patna & Ors. v. M/s Green Rubber
Industries and Ors.,  1 S.C.C. 731, relied on.
APPELLATE JURISDICTION: Civil Appeal No. 1496 of 1993.
the Judgment and Order dated 20.2.1985 of the Orissa High Court in First Appeal
No.139 of 1974 Raj Kumar Mehta for the Appellant.
Judgment of the Court was delivered by B.P. JEEVAN REDDY, J. Heard the counsel
for the appellant.
appears for the respondent though served. Leave granted.
appeal by the Orissa State Electricity Board is preferred against the judgment
of the Orissa High Court allowing partly an appeal preferred .by the
respondent. The dispute pertains to the liability of the consumer (respondent
in this appeal) to pay the minimum charges during the period subsequent to the
date of disconnection of supply of energy to him for the non-payment of
respondent is an industry. It entered into an agreement with the appellant for
supply of electricity on March
5, 1965. The agreement
was valid for a period of five years.
started availing of the energy with effect from July 31, 1965. The supply of his industry was disconnected on April 30, 1968 for non-payment of electricity
charges. Since the consumer also failed to pay the minimum charges for the
period subsequent to the date of disconnection, the Board filed a suit for the
amount due on account of the electricity consumed between April 1, 1968 and April 30, 1968 and for the minimum charges for the period May 1, 1968 to March 5, 1970. (It
may be remembered that the agreement between parties was valid upto March 5,
1970). The Trial Court decreed the suit as prayed for along with interest 862
of 6% per annum on the amount decreed from the date of suit till the date of
decree and also future interest at the same rate till full satisfaction. On
appeal, the High Court sustained the decree of the Trial Court only for the
period upto the date of disconnection (April 30, 1968) but disallowed the claim
for the period subsequent to the date of disconnection. The reasoning of the
High Court is that inasmuch as the supply was disconnected and the respondent-
consumer did not avail of any energy whatsoever during the period subsequent to
the disconnection, it is not liable to pay the minimum charges.
this appeal, it is contended by the learned counsel for the appellant that the
question arising herein is concluded in favour of the Board by the decision of
this Court in Bihar State Electricity Board, Patna and Ors. v. M/s Green Rubber Industries and Ors.,  1
S.C.C. 731. On a perusal of the judgment, we find that was also a case where
the claim inter alia pertained to the period subsequent to the date of
disconnection till the expiry of the agreement.
that case too, minimum charges were claimed by the Board even for the period
during which the supply remained disconnected and no energy whatsoever was
availed of by the consumer. We also find that clause (4) of the agreement
considered' in the said decision and clauses (6) and (13) of the agreement
concerned herein are substantially same.
(13) of the agreement between the parties hereto does oblige the consumer to
pay a certain minimum charges in any event. The clause reads as follows:
consumer shall (subject to the provisions hereinafter contained) pay to the
Engineer for the power demand and electrical energy supplied under this
Agreement, the charges to be ascertained as mentioned below viz.
resolution on tariff to be inserted here) LARGE INDUSTRIES: For demand of 125
K.V.A. and above for supply at 11 K.V. at
Rs.5.50 paise per K.V.A. per month plus
Rs.0.08 paise per K.W.H. per month subject to an overall maximum rate of
Rs.0.09 paise per K.W.H. and 863 without prejudice to payment of minimum charge
of 75 per cent of the contract demand at the above rate of Rs.5.50 paise per
K.V.A. per month and subject further to absolute minimum payment on 125 K.V.A.
in the first part of the tariff.
less than 250 K.V.A the demand may be metered in K.W. and charged for at
Rs.6.00 per K.W. per month. Besides the charges for K.W.H. consumed at the rate
supply at M.T. less than 11 K.V.A and M.T. less that 11 K.V.A. and M.T. the
above rate will be increased by 10%." The reasons for such a stipulation
and its justifiability are duly and fully explained by this Court in the
aforesaid decision. It is not necessary for us to reiterate the same.
appeal is accordingly allowed. The Judgment of the High Court is set aside. The
judgment and decree of the Trial Court is restored. No costs.