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V.P.E. Abdulla Haji vs Kerala State Electricity Board on 7 February, 2011

Kerala High Court
V.P.E. Abdulla Haji vs Kerala State Electricity Board on 7 February, 2011
       

  

  

 
 
  IN THE HIGH COURT OF KERALA AT ERNAKULAM

WP(C).No. 28751 of 2008(W)


1. V.P.E. ABDULLA HAJI,
                      ...  Petitioner

                        Vs



1. KERALA STATE ELECTRICITY BOARD,
                       ...       Respondent

2. STATE OF KERALA REPRESENTED BY

3. THE DISTRICT COLLECTOR, KANNUR.

4. THE TAHSILDAR (REVENUE RECOVERY),

                For Petitioner  :SRI.S.RAMESH BABU

                For Respondent  :SRI.P.P.THAJUDEEN, SC, K.S.E.B

The Hon'ble MR. Justice S.SIRI JAGAN

 Dated :07/02/2011

 O R D E R
                            S.SIRI JAGAN, J.
                      ==================
                       W.P.(C).No. 28751 of 2008
                      ==================
              Dated this the 7th day of February, 2011
                            J U D G M E N T

This writ petition is filed by a consumer of the Kerala State

Electricity Board challenging the revenue recovery proceedings for

recovery of arrears of electricity charges from him. Originally, the

petitioner challenged the demand for arrears, by filing

O.P.No.10528/2003, in which, by Ext.P3 judgment dated 2.4.2003,

there was a direction to the Executive Engineer, KSEB, Thalassery, to

dispose of a representation filed by the petitioner. Pursuant to the

same, Ext.P4 order was passed by the Executive Engineer, wherein,

the demand was confirmed. The petitioner again challenged the

demand by filing W.P.(C).No.27629/2003, in which, by Ext.P5 interim

order dated 28.8.2003, disconnection was stayed on payment of an

amount of ` 1 lakh by the petitioner within one month. The petitioner

did not pay that amount. Ultimately, by Ext.P6 judgment dated

28.11.2007, the writ petition was finally dismissed confirming the

demand from the petitioner. Thereafter, by Ext.P7, the petitioner was

directed to pay the defaulted amount. The petitioner is challenging the

said revenue recovery proceedings on the ground of limitation.

According to the petitioner, once pursuant to Ext.P5 interim order, the

petitioner did not pay the amount as directed in the interim order, the

limitation would run from that date and, therefore, Ext.P7 proceedings

initiated on 6.8.2008 more than three years after the date of Ext.P5,

w.p.c.28751/08 2

viz., 28.8.2003, is barred by limitation. According to the petitioner, as

per the judgment of the Supreme Court in State of Kerala v.

V.R.Kalliyanikutty [1999 (2) KLT 146 (SC)], limitation is applicable

to proceedings under the Revenue Recovery Act also and the recovery

of the arrears of electricity charges from the petitioner is clearly barred

by limitation.

2. A counter affidavit has been filed by the Board, wherein

they take the contention that there is no limitation. According to them,

the issue was live till W.P.(C).No.27629/2003 was dismissed on

28.11.2007 by Ext.P6 judgment and limitation would run only from

that date. Even apart from the same, according to them, arrears of

electricity charges are recoverable as arrears of land revenue by virtue

of Regulation 15(d) of the Conditions of Supply of Electrical Energy

and, in such cases, going by the ratio of the decision of this Court in

Inspector, Toddy Workers Welfare Fund Board v. M.S.Vijayan

[2009 (1) KHC 465], the period of limitation is 30 years under Article

112 of the Limitation Act and therefore, in any event, there is no

limitation.

3. In answer to the same, the counsel for the petitioner relies

on the judgment of a learned Single Judge of this Corut in W.P.(C).

No.19066/2005, wherein the limitation prescribed for recovery of

arrears of electricity was held to be three years.

4. I have considered the rival contentions in detail.

w.p.c.28751/08 3

5. No doubt, the Supreme Court has held in Kalliyanikutty’s

case (supra) that limitation is applicable to proceedings under the

Revenue Recovery Act itself, but the question is as to from which date

the limitation would run and what is the period of limitation. In this

case, the demand for arrears of electricity charges by the Electricity

Board was continuously under challenge at the hands of the petitioner

and the liability of the petitioner was finally decided only by Ext.P6

judgment dated 28.11.2007. Therefore, according to me, the limitation

would run only from that date. If that be so, the revenue recovery

notice issued on 6.8.2008 is clearly within time. Even otherwise, in the

decision cited by the counsel for the Board it has been specifically held

that when under law amounts due are liable to be recovered as arrears

of land revenue, the period of limitation applicable is under Regulation

112 of the Limitation Act, which is 30 years. In view of the above, I do

not think that the decision in W.P.(C).No.19066/2005 cited by the

petitioner can be followed to decide this case. Therefore, I hold that

the initiation of revenue recovery proceedings is well within time. Since

the liability has already been confirmed by Ext.P6 judgment, the

petitioner cannot now escape from the liability to pay the arrears. In

the above circumstances, this writ petition is dismissed.

Sd/-

sdk+                                              S.SIRI JAGAN, JUDGE
          ///True copy///

                              P.A. to Judge

w.p.c.28751/08    4

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