The Calcutta High Court recently have occasion to rule that even a trespasser, unless evicted by the due process of law, is entitled to electricity (Sukla Kar v. The Calcutta Electric Supply Corporation Ltd. & Ors.)
Justice Arindam Mukherjee, however, clarified that even the electricity connection is granted to such a person, it would not create any other right in her favour as regards the property.
The petitioner in this case had moved the High Court after her application for a new service connection was rejected by the Calcutta Electric Supply Corporation (CESC).
The CESC told the Court that it cannot provide a new service main in the premises occupied by the petitioner as there already existed once. However, the petitioner can be provided a new meter and a new connection from the existing main service, the Court was informed.
Other private respondents told the Court that the petitioner did not have rights over the property where the electricity connection was sought. It was submitted that she had earlier been enjoying electricity from an existing meter based on an arrangement between the petitioner and the private respondents. Because of failure to pay bills, the electricity was disconnection, they contended.
Pertinently, however, the respondents admitted that the petitioner was still in occupation of the premises in question.
The High Court opined that the disputes over the premises, whether it be ownership, title, or interest, cannot stand in the way of the petitioner getting a new electricity meter in her name, when the possession of the premises by her is admitted.
“Assuming without admitting that the petitioner does not have any right, title and interest in respect of the said premises, the petitioner’s status then is that of a trespasser. Even a trespasser, unless evicted by due process of law, is entitled to electricity. Electricity connection, if granted to the petitioner, will not also create any right in her favour”, reads the order.
Therefore, Justice Mukherjee proceeded to direct the petitioner to make a new application for a meter and new electricity connection within 7 days. It further issued directions for the CESC to process the application, inspect the premises, raise a quotation, and install a new meter to grant the petitioner a new electricity connection.
The Court added that it has not gone into the dispute between the petitioner and the private respondents, nor will its order create or affect any right for the petitioner in respect of the premises.
Advocate Srikanta Paul appeared for the petitioner. Advocate Jahar Dutta appeared for the State. Advocate Suman Ghosh appeared for the CESC and Advocate Dipanker Bose appeared for the private respondents.