Holding that electricity connection is an integral part of the right to life, the Kerala High Court has held that it is the statutory duty of the Kerala State Electricity Board(KSEB) to supply electricity within one month after receipt of the application for power connection.
Justice Murali Purushothaman ,while dismissing a petition by two KSEB engineers, observed, “Water and electricity are an integral part of the Right to life within the meaning of Article 21 of the Constitution of India. Section 43 of the Electricity Act provides that there is a statutory duty on the distribution licensee to provide the electric connection to the applicants within one month after receipt of the application requiring such supply. The KSEB is the sole distribution licensee for electricity within the State and therefore the Board and its officials shall make every endeavour to provide electricity supply to applicants without any delay.”
The court’s observations came on a petition filed by K. N. Raveendranadhan, Assistant Executive Engineer and K. Keeran, assistant engineer, KSEB challenging the order of the Regulatory Commission imposing a fine of ₹50,000 and ₹25,000 respectively for not giving electricity connection to P. Sainuddeen of Malappuram.
The court observed that to light up a bulb in his tiny house, Sainuddeen had to run from pillar to post. An order of the KSEB’s Consumer Grievance Redressal Forum (CGRF) in his favour could not dispel the darkness at his home and the State Electricity Regulatory Commission imposed fine on two officers for the delay in giving electricity connection.
Sainuddeen had applied for electric connection to his newly built house before the Assistant Engineer, Electric Section, Edarikkode on May 20, 2013. But it was rejected by the petitioners citing that the house was constructed without keeping the minimum distance from the Low Tension electric line (L.T. line) and that only after shifting the electric line, the electric connection could be given. Despite the directive of the Consumer Grievance Redressal Forum and Electricity Ombudsman, the KSEB engineers had delayed implementation of the directive to provide connection.