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Electricity is one of the Fundamental Rights for existence under Article 21 of the Constitution of India: High Court of Delhi

Electricity is one the Fundamental Rights for existence under Article 21 of the Constitution of India, subject to the complementation with other requirements. Therefore, the right to have electricity would not be construed as recognising any tenancy or possessory rights with regard to the subject property. These were stated by the High Court of Delhi, consisting Justice Sanjeev Sachdeva in the case of Ashish Gupta vs. Tata Power Delhi Distribution Limited [W.P.(C) 890/2022] on 14.01.2022.

The facts of the case are that the petitioner is a tenant in the subject property in which there are certain disputes between the petitioner and landlord. The petitioner filed a suit for mandatory injunction seeking restoration of electricity connection. However, the said suit was rejected on the ground that there is a suit for possession filed by the landlord against the property and the relief of restoration of electricity could be agitated in the said proceedings. Petitioner seeks a direction to respondent/Tata Power Delhi Distribution Limited (TPDDL) to either restore the electricity supply or install a fresh connection in the property.

The learned Counsel for the petitioner contended that it is a settled proposition of law that electricity is one the Fundamental Rights for existence under Article 21 of the Constitution of India, subject to the complementation with other requirements. Further, it was submitted that on vacating the premises or being evicted and surrender of the electricity meter, petitioner shall be entitled to refund of the security deposit subject to adjustment of any dues of the respondent.

The learned Counsel for the respondent submitted that respondents have no objection in granting electricity connection in the name of the petitioner, provided the petitioner clears the pending electricity dues, if any, in respect of the above connection and further makes a fresh application for grant of a connection in his name and further subject to payment of additional security deposit over and above the regular security deposit.

The High Court of Delhi held that the application of the petitioner shall be processed and electricity connection shall be installed within two working days of the petitioner completing all the formalities and petitioner shall not seek adjustment of the security deposit. However, on the petitioner vacating the premises or being evicted and surrender of the electricity meter, petitioner shall be entitled to refund of the security deposit subject to adjustment of any dues of the respondent. The Court observed the order to be without prejudice to the rights and contentions of the parties and therefore, shall not be construed as recognising any tenancy or possessory rights of the petitioner with regard to the subject property and would be without prejudice to the pending dispute with the landlord. It was held that no special equities will flow in favour of the Petitioner because of this order. The writ petition was disposed of in the above terms.

Judgment reviewed by Shristi Suman. Read Judgment

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