KSECF challenges KERC member's appointment

Claims it is illegal, amounting to violation of the Electricity Act

 The Karnataka State Electricity Consumers Forum (KSECF) has moved the High Court challenging the appointment of Vishwanath Hiremath as member of the commission. After the refusal of the Karnataka Small Scale Industries Association (KASSIA) to argue before Hiremath, Member, KERC, it is now the turn of KSECF, which is up in arms against him.

KSECF has moved the High Court stating that his appointment is illegal and amounts to violation of the Electricity Act. The petitioners have stated that the member is not qualified for the post and has sought directions to set aside his appointment dated 30, September, 2008.

The petitioner said that the respondent being a law officer to KPTCL had managed to get 12 promotions within a short period (between 1983 and 2005). As per the information obtained under RTI act, he began working as law officer with KPTCL and within a short period, was promoted as Director of Law.

The second respondent was appearing before the KERC in all the cases of the KPTCL and ESCOMS and had personally pleaded before the KERC several times right from 1999, since the day the Regulatory Commission was constituted.

Accordingly, the respondent was preparing the statement of objections and affidavit in all the cases filed against the Electricity Board, KPTCL & ESCOMS.  He used to even draft the plaints, petitions etc for filing cases on behalf of the Board.  Apart from this he was entrusted to scrutinise the agreements and contract documents until 30 September, 2008, the day he was appointed as a member in violation of the Act, the petition alleges.   
According to the Section 84 (1) of Electricity Act 2003, the chairperson, and the member of the State Commission shall be a person of ability, integrity and standing who has adequate knowledge of and has shown capacity in dealing with the problems relating to engineering, finance, commerce, economics, law or management.

“But the respondent does not possess the required qualification, therefore the selection of the respondent is contrary to law and liable to be set aside,” said A V Amaranathan, counsel for the petitioners.

As an interim prayer, the petitioners said that since the second respondent is responsible for filing of multi year tariff application in the year 2006 and since the companies have filed annual performance review and tariff filing for the year 2010, he cannot hear the same application, as he had appeared in the said tariff application before. The matter is likely to come up within this week.

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