Electricity is integral part of life, cannot be denied: SC

Law and Life

by G Shaheed

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When electricity produces light, why should a person live in darkness? Light is a basic amenity for life. A building owner cannot take a decision to deny electricity to a tenant, the Supreme Court made it very clear.

When a tenant applied for electricity connection, the Electricity Board in Bengal wanted a no- objection certificate from the owner to establish the tenant is occupying the building. The tenant is a businessman. However, due to some misunderstandings, the owner did not give the necessary certificate and hence the tenant forged the owner’s signature. Upon the owner’s complaint, the Kolkata police registered a case of forgery against the tenant. But it was quashed by the Kolkata HC. The building owner challenged it in the apex court.

The SC held that even if there is forgery on the part of the tenant it does not matter taking into consideration the background of the case. Here a tenant needs electricity as it is essential for him to do his business. He has to live doing business. Electricity and light are the basic amenities for life. It cannot be denied to a person, the SC observed. Denying electricity when he has the right to get it amounts to violation of his right.

The tenant applied for electricity at his own cost. An application for electricity does not adversely affect the building owner. In such a background, a police case against the tenant will not stand.

The Court directed the electricity board to provide the tenant with a connection.

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