The Gujarat High Court issued a notice returnable for one week in the case of Gujarat Re-Rolling Mills Association through President DK Goyal v State of Gujarat. Here, the Petitioner demanded an exemption from payment of the lowest electricity charges.
Brief Facts of the Case
The petitioner is an association of micro, small, and medium enterprise. Advocate Arpit S. Singhvi represented them on Friday. Herein, the petitioner submitted a statement. The Statement said that, since 24 May 2020, all their activities have come to a standstill. This was after the announcement of the lockdown. Moreover, due to the time to time extension of the lockdown, none of the activities have resumed.
The State of Gujarat made a resolution on 27 March, 2020. In addition, it had granted exemption from payment of the lowest electricity charges to all industries. These are the Industries that had come to a halt due to lockdown. It also includes the distribution companies of all states charging all such industries. The waiver of the smallest electricity charges was for the months of March and April.
Additionally, the State gave relaxations in the restrictions imposed during the lockdown, 18 May onwards. Now the distribution companies are demanding payment of the smallest electricity charges for May.
Furthermore, these distribution companies are tagged as respondents. They are Gujarat Urja Vikas Nikam Ltd, Uttar Gujarat Vij Company Ltd. Along with, Dakshin Gujarat Vij Company Ltd, Madhya Gujarat Vij Company Ltd. Also, Paschim Gujarat Vij Company Ltd.
Grounds of the petition
The petitioner is currently facing great financial difficulties and operational losses due to the COVID crisis. The petitioner has been unable to resume the operation of their companies. This is even after the relaxation of the lockdown.
The extension of the lockdown was till May. Unfortunately, there has also been a constant shortage of labour due to the migrant crisis. These reasons have caused disability to the functioning of the petitioner’s companies.
The petitioner had made these representations to the distribution companies. Further, they requested them to suspend the payment of fixed smallest charges. However, the petitioner has not received any response to date. The due date for payment of charges for May was on 31st.
Relief desired by the Petitioner
With the due date nearing, the petitioners approached the court asking for relief. Further, they have prayed for a waiver of fixed smallest charges of electricity during May and June.
Also, the petitioner has mentioned that they are ready to pay the charges for the electricity. The charges in question are those they have actually consumed during this period.
Order of the Court
Justice BN Karia admitted this petition on 29 May 2020. Further, he observed that this issue needed due consideration. Thus, he issued returnable notice to the State and the Distribution Companies attached as respondents in this case. Further, the next date of hearing this case is on 5 June 2020.
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