The Delhi government will move the Supreme Court to challenge the recent Delhi High Court order quashing the former’s decision to get the accounts of three private power distribution companies (discoms) audited by the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG).
In a blow to the Arvind Kejriwal government, the Delhi High Court had quashed the decision to get the accounts audited, saying that the state government did not have the power to order an audit by the CAG and that only the Delhi Electricity Regulatory Commission had the right to do so.
The order came after three companies — Tata Power Delhi Distribution Limited (TPDDL), BSES Rajdhani Power Limited and BSES Yamuna Power Limited — challenged the government’s decision ordering a CAG audit of their accounts. In the petition filed to the High Court, the discoms had challenged the order of a single judge who had given his go-ahead to the audit. In January last year, the judge had asked the discoms to cooperate fully with the CAG in the audit process.
The Aam Aadmi Party said it did not agree with the High Court verdict and claimed that the initial analysis of the judgement showed that the court had erroneously concluded that the DERC was mandated to regulate and finalise electricity tariffs.
“The court overlooked the key fact that the DERC is a regulator and not an auditor, and that the DERC itself had stated it wanted the CAG to audit the account books of discoms. The people of Delhi cannot suffer for the mistake of the previous Congress government, which paid no heed to the DERC’s 2010 recommendation of getting the CAG to audit the discoms,” said an AAP source.
The party has demanded an inquiry into what it describes as a “conspiracy” on why the Delhi administration was not represented in the High Court in the case when the city-state was under President’s Rule. “The fact that Delhi administration went unrepresented has been revealed in the High Court judgement and the party demands that Delhi government should fix responsibility of those who connived with the discoms during this one year to weaken the case of CAG audit,” said a statement.
The court also dismissed a PIL filed by NGO United RWAs Joint Action (URJA) which had sought an audit of the companies’ accounts by the CAG.
Anil Sood, president of another NGO, Chetna, who has filed an RTI asking the Delhi Electricity Regulatory Commission (DERC), for a break-up of the “artificial losses” (about Rs 33,000 crore), said: “There is indeed public interest. As per Article 149 of the Constitution, a state government can ask for a CAG audit. The discoms are a 51:49 joint venture between private companies and the Delhi government and therefore public interest is very much involved.”
He said he would file an intervention petition if the Delhi government moved the Supreme Court.