“There is no gainsaying that electricity is an essential service, of which a person cannot be deprived without cogent, lawful reason. It is well-settled that even if disputes exist as to ownership of the property at which an electricity connection is sought, the concerned authorities cannot deprive the legal occupant thereof by insisting that an NOC be furnished from others who also claim to be owners,” justice Manoj Kumar Ohri observed.
The court’s comments came on a petition by two senior citizens who sought a direction to BSES-YPL to install a fresh electricity metre at the premises they were residing in. The petitioners complained that in order to install the metre, BSES-YPL was seeking an NOC from the brothers of one of the petitioners with whom they were engaged in a court case over partition of the property.
At present, the court noted, the petitioners were getting the electricity supplied to their portion of the property as per an arrangement between the parties but it caused multiple disputes. It cited a Supreme Court decision that electricity is a basic amenity and cannot be declined even to a tenant on the ground of failure/refusal of the landlord to produce an NOC and that the authority is only required to examine if the applicant is in occupation of the premises in question.
The electricity supplying authority told the court that it will consider the petitioners’ application for fresh connection in accordance with law. The court asked the authority to process the application forthwith without insisting on the NOC within two weeks and clarified that the “order shall not be construed as recognising any possessory rights of the petitioners with regard to the subject premises”.