Corporation of Delhi Vs. Ajanta Iron & Steel Co.
(Pvt.) Ltd.  INSC 64 (28 February 1990)
L.M. (J) Sharma, L.M. (J) Ramaswami, V. (J) II
1990 AIR 882 1990 SCR (2) 733 1990 SCC (2) 659 JT 1990 (2) 94 1990 SCALE (1)409
Electricity Act, 1910: Electricity Supply--Dis- connection of--Service of
notice a pre-requisite.
Delhi Electricity Supply Undertaking disconnected the supply of electricity to
the respondent-company during the pendency of the suit for a prohibitory
injunction with- out serving notice on the consumer. The trial court dis-
missed the amended suit for mandatory injunction to restore the supply. The
First Appellate Court decreed the suit on the sole ground of non-service of
notice as required under condition No. 36 in regard to supply of electricity by
the appellant. It did not go into the allegation of theft of electricity by the
plaintiff. The High Court dismissed the appeal.
the appeal by special leave, this Court,
1. The licensee undertaking is performing a public duty and is governed by a
special statute. The law also contemplates service of a notice before
disconnection of supply of electricity. The appellant cannot also be allowed to
go back upon its words and refuse the consumer the bene- fit of notice as
contemplated by the agreement. The suit was, therefore, rightly decreed by the
First Appellate Court. [735B-C, A-B]
plaintiff is seriously denying the allegation of theft. It is not possible to
assume the accusation as cor- rect without a full-fledged trial on this issue.
The courts below have not examined the case on merits. The question whether the
allegations are true or not has to be examined and decided in an appropriate
proceeding. The appellant will not, therefore, be prejudiced in its claim by
dismissal of the appeal. [734G-H, 735C] Jagarnath Singh v.B.S. Ramaswamy,
 1 SCR 885, distinguished.
APPELLATE JURISDICTION: Civil Appeal No. 3693 of 1989.
From the Judgment and Order dated 23.2. 1989 of Delhi High Court in R.S.A. No. 31 of 1989.
R.K. Maheshwari and G.S. Gujananip for the Appellant.
Sunder Jha for the Respondent.
Judgment of the Court was delivered by SHARMA, J. This appeal by special leave
arises out of a suit filed by the respondent-company against the appellant,
Municipal Corporation of Delhi, for a mandatory injunction to
restore the supply of electricity discontinued during the pendency of the suit.
Initially the suit was filed for a prohibitory injunction from disconnecting
the electric connection. The plaint was amended following stoppage of the
supply of energy.
According to the plaintiff's case, the suit had to be filed as the Delhi
Electricity Supply Undertaking was threatening disconnection without disclosing
some officers of the Undertaking made an inspection of the meters and alleged
theft of electricity after tampering with the seals affixed on the meters. A
First Information Report was lodged with the police.
Admittedly no notice was served by the Delhi Elec- tricity Supply Undertaking
on the plaintiff before severing the electric connection. The learned trial
court, however, dismissed the suit and the plaintiff appealed. The First
Additional District Judge, Delhi, who heard the appeal decreed the suit on the
sole ground of nonservice of notice as required under condition no. 36 in
regard to supply of electricity by the appellant. The Delhi High Court
dismissed the appellant's second appeal at the admission stage by a reasoned
learned counsel for the appellant has contended that in view of the conduct of
the plaintiff in stealing electricity, the Court should in its discretion
refuse to issue a direction for restoration of the electric supply. We are afraid,
it is not possible to agree with the appellant for more reasons than one. The
plaintiff is seriously deny- ing the allegation of theft and it is not possible
to assume the accusation as correct without a full-fledged trial on this issue.
The case of Jagarnath Singh v.B.S. Ramaswamy,  1 SCR 885; relied upon on
behalf of 735 the appellant is clearly distinguishable inasmuch as the consumer
in that case was convicted under the Indian Penal Code, and the conviction was
being maintained in appeal.
the service of notice is a prerequisite for discon- nection, and the appellant
can not be allowed to go back upon its words and refuse the consumer the
benefit of notice as contemplated by the agreement. The learned counsel for the
appellant urged that the Delhi Electric Supply Undertak- ing will seriously
suffer if this view is upheld. We do not understand as to what is the
difficulty in the way of the appellant to serve a notice on the consumer before
discon- tinuing the supply. It has to be appreciated that the licen- see
Undertaking is performing a public duty and is governed by a special statute
and the law also contemplates service of a notice before disconnection of
supply of electricity.
courts below have made it clear that they have not examined the case on merits.
The question whether, the allegations of theft are true or not has to be
examined and decided in an appropriate proceeding, and the appellant will not,
therefore, be prejudiced by the present judgment in its claim. In the result,
the appeal is dismissed but, without costs.