Provide electricity connections to 200 migrant families from Pakistan: Delhi HC directs Tata Power
The Delhi High Court on Thursday directed the Tata Power Delhi Distribution Limited (TPDDL) to provide electricity connections within 30 days to 200 families of Hindu migrants from Pakistan.
The directions by the high court came while disposing of a plea moved by a social worker.
The high court passed the direction after noting the submission of the Centre that it has given approval for the installation of electricity connection for the migrant families living in the Adarsh Nagar area of the national capital, Delhi.
The Division bench of Chief Justice Satish Chandra Sharma and Justice Subramonium Prasad passed the direction and disposed off the plea moved by the social worker.
The counsel for Centre submitted that it has given approval for the installation of an electricity connection in view of NOC given by the Ministry of defence which owns the land where the families are currently residing.
The court also noted the submission of the counsel for migrants that they are ready to install prepaid meters so that the distribution company doesn't suffer loss in case of default.
While disposing of, the court directed the distribution company to provide electricity connections within 30 days in application.
A Public Interest Litigation (PIL) was filed on behalf of the Hindu migrants who have come from Pakistan to India, staying in Adarsh Nagar near Majlis Park Metro Station.
The court noted that all of them have been issued Aadhar cards and are on long-term visas issued by the Government of India.
They are poor people who do not have a permanent place of shelter and they are living in a cluster of jhuggis. The PIL stated that the authorities are demanding proof of ownership of land.
Senior Counsel Sanjeev Paddar appearing for the Petitioner submitted that proof of ownership is certainly not required under the rules. He stated that a person who is not the owner, and if he is an occupant, can also apply for an electricity connection.
"The migrants, as they were in need of electricity connection, approached the distribution company for the supply of electricity.
There is a letter on record which reflects that the only requirement that the migrants are not able to meet is NOC from the land-owning agency," the lawyer submitted.
Counsel appearing for Tata Power Delhi Distribution Limited (TPDDL) stated that NOC is certainly required as certain poles will have to be erected for providing proper electricity.
The land in question over which the Jhuggis have been established belongs to the Government of India/ Defence Department/ DMRC, and in absence of a NOC from the land-owning agency, the distribution company is not in a position to provide electricity connection.
On that, the Delhi HC granted two weeks' time to the Union of India to file an affidavit as to why NOC has not been issued to the migrants from Pakistan who are residing without electricity for the last five to six years. It has also been stated that there are small children and women in the area, and in absence of electricity it has become very difficult for these families to survive, and they are living in extremely harsh conditions.
Court noted that the senior counsel appearing for the petitioner was fair enough in making a submission that the Petitioners will not claim any right over the land in question on account of the fact that electricity has been provided to them.
"He has gone to the extent of informing this Court that they are also ready to pay for the electricity, and a prepaid meter can be installed on their premises. He has also brought to the notice of this Court that other Migrants from Pakistan who are placed similarly and are living in Majnu-Ka-Tila have been provided prepaid meter/ electricity connection," the court noted.
The central Government in its affidavit opposed the Public Interest Litigation (PIL) and stated the camps which have been set up/established on the Land, are illegal and have been established as a result of encroachment on the Defence Land.
Ministry of Defence in its affidavit further stated that not only does the answering respondent, not have the competent authority to provide electric connections or provide any assistance of any sort to migrants, but also in view of the illegal encroachment the petition is not misconceived and frivolous and deserves to be dismissed in-limine.
The petitioner Hariom, a social activist who filed the plea sought electricity connections by way of either prepaid or post-paid electricity meters for these people who are living in very poor conditions without electricity and are facing Delhi's extreme weather without any help from the government authorities from the last few years.
The plea further stated that the refugee camp is in a dire state and the Pakistani Hindus had been requesting permanent electricity connection in the camp for the last three years.
"Unfortunately, their requests have fallen on deaf ears of the concerned authorities. There are children staying in the Camps who are not able to exercise their basic right to education due to the absence of electricity. These children are already facing many hurdles and the absence of electricity has made their life worse," the plea added.
(With inputs from ANI)
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