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The Delhi High Court has directed private power distribution companies (discoms) to recover electricity bill dues from a tenant before he or she vacates a premises.

The court said this was necessary to ensure that the liability does not fall on the landlord or the subsequent tenant.

While hearing a petition filed by a landlord with property in South-Extension-II market in south Delhi, Justice Rajiv Sahai Endlaw said: ‘If the discoms are permitted to so allow the arrears of electricity charges to accumulate and do not take timely action for recovery from the person liable and then coerce the subsequent occupant to pay the same, it would be a serious clog on transferability of immovable properties.’

The court made it clear that people would hesitate in acquiring properties for the fear of the unknown liability of electricity dues.

‘If distribution companies, cautioned on the likely vacation of a property by the consumer liable for power dues, are obliged to ensure that the dues do not accumulate and are recovered so that they do not fall on the subsequent occupant,’ the court said in its order delivered last week.

Pulling up the companies, the court said: ‘BSES Rajdhani Power Ltd. cannot be negligent in recovering the dues especially after being informed by the landlord on the tenant’s move to vacate the premises.’

In the present case the landlord sought the court’s direction to discom BSES Rajdhani to recover the dues of Rs.55 lakh from the tenant.

The landlord and the tenant of the premises were involved in a legal battle following which the tenant vacated the premises. The landlord then moved the high court for recovery of dues from the tenant who had vacated the premises.

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