The Petitioner filed a Writ Plea against the power supply company, alleging that the power supply could not be sanctioned unless the previous arrears were paid, i.e. Rs. 17.36 crore (nearly doubled at the time of filing the petition). The Single Judge Bench dismissed the Writ Petition. As a result, the petitioner filed an intra-court Writ Appeal on the matter.
To begin with, Petitioner's Learned Counsel argued that the arrears of power supply rates were not an encumbrance and hence did not run with the land. Because the buyer (Petitioner) purchased the land at an auction, he could not be held accountable for such a payment. Furthermore, it was argued that because the petitioner did not know such arrears on the day of the auction, he could not be held vicariously accountable for them. Furthermore, it was argued that requiring a prospective client to pay the total arrears would be unjust and unfair. It was further argued that because the supply company had previously filed a claim against the predecessor-in-title, the petitioners could not file a claim against them.
The Respondent's experienced counsel had argued that the issue was not about forceful recovery, but rather about a precondition for providing power to the land in dispute. The "Condition of Supply of Electricity of the Distributed Licensees in the State of Karnataka" was also noted by the attorney. In addition, the respondent had presented the traditional caveat emptor condition in response to the Petitioner's claim about "vicarious liability."
Observation of the Court:
The Karnataka High Court's Dharwad bench took notice of all of the points stated by both the petitioner's and respondents' experienced counsel. To dismiss various arguments made by both parties, the court cited the Supreme Court's decision in Paschimanchal Vidyut Vitran vs M/S Dvs Steels & Alloys ((2009) 1 SCC 210 ). The court went on to say that energy theft might be both a tort and a crime.
The Writ Appeal was partially permitted by the divided bench. It was decided that the respondent should reconsider the distribution of arrears burden. It should also consider putting in place a power supply within four weeks.