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Unauthorised Use of Energy – Assessment of

In a recent judgment of the Allahabad High Court in Sanjay Rizvi v. Managing Director, Kanpur Electricity Supply Co., and others, decided on April 20, 2012, it was held as under:

Before issuing an assessment notice, the authority must record it’s conclusion that the person concerned or any other person benefited has used electricity unauthorisedly in terms as defined in Explanation (b) to Section 126 of the Electricity Act, 2003. Though the 2003 Act does not provide that Assessing Officer has to provide opportunity of hearing at the stage of recording of the conclusion, however, it does not simultaneously prohibit the same. No person can come to the conclusion of unauthorised use of electricity suo motu without giving an opportunity to the concerned person as deprivation will amount to violation of principles of natural justice.

A perusal of clause 6.8 (a) (i), (ii), (iv) and (v) of the U.P.  Electricity Supply Code, 2005,  on inspection of the premises by the Assessing Officer, if it is found that some irregularities constituting unauthorized use of electricity have been committed, the Assessing Officer shall prepare a report at the site giving details thereof and will hand over the copy of such report to the consumer or his representative. The emphasis is that prima facie conclusion recorded by the Assessing Officer should be communicated to the consumer. Clause 6.8 (b) (ii) shows that the notice shall require the consumer to give his objections against the charges and provisional assessment. Clause 6.8 (c) (i) provides that opportunity of personal hearing shall also be given and thereafter the Assessing Officer shall pass a speaking order specifically disclosing whether unauthorized use of energy is established or not and where it is so determined the quantum of amount which the consumer has to pay, i.e., assessment shall be made by him. Thus, Clause 6.8 provides a detailed procedure in which the assessment would have to be made by the Assessing Officer.

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