Monday, January 30, 2023

Kerala High Court directs disaster management authority to disburse electricity charges college which was turned into Covid centre

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The Kerala High Court directed the District  Disaster Management Authority  (District Collector, Pathanamthitta  in his capacity as Chairperson, Disaster Management Authority) to disburse electricity charges to a private college  which was requisitioned as a Covid First Line Treatment Centre in 2020.

A Single Bench of Justice V.G. Arun disposed of a Petition filed by Mount Zion College of Engineering.  The College and hostel buildings of the petitioner, a Self Financing Engineering College, was requisitioned as a Covid First Line Treatment Centre from 21.05.2020 to 20.12.2020.  

The petitioner has been issued a Bill demanding arrears of electricity consumption charges for the period March, 2020 to February, 2021. The petitioner has approached the authorities seeking payment of the bill amount. The District Collector, Pathanamthitta, in his capacity as Chairperson, Disaster Management Authority, having failed to accede to the request, the petition is filed.   

The Chairperson, Disaster Management Authority has filed a statement stating that the electricity charges for the petitioner’s College and hostel building for the period 21.05.2020 to 20.12.2020 will be paid by the respondent without delay, after calculating the electricity charges in accordance with  Guidelines of Kerala State Electricity Board Limited (KSEB) Limited.   

In view of the above assurance, the  petition is disposed of by the Court directing the  District  Disaster Management Authority (4th respondent)   to disburse the amount due to the petitioner within an outer limit of two months.  

The counsel for the petitioner submitted that the buildings were requisitioned during the period from April, 2021 to May, 2021 also. Hence, claiming electricity charges for that period, the petitioner has submitted  representation. The 4th respondent is hence directed by the High Court to take a decision within two months.

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