PANJIM: The High Court of Bombay on Thursday ordered the Electricity Department to restore power connection to a resident from Pernem within next 10 days. Electricity to Hire Parab was disconnected by the Department of Agriculture following allegations that the agricultural land was converted for non-agricultural purposes.
Parab, a resident of Virnoda-Pernem in his petition had challenged the order dated November 29, 2021, passed by the State Electricity Ombudsman and the order dated July 30, 2021 by the Consumer Grievances Redressal Forum of Electricity Department, disconnecting his power connection after the Zonal Agricultural Officer (ZAO) withdrew the NOC granted to the petitioner.
The ZAO’s withdrawal was, in turn, based upon the proceedings initiated by the Deputy Collector, alleging conversion of an agricultural land for non-agricultural purposes. The Deputy Collector had also issued a stop-work order, based upon which, the ZAO withdrew the NOC and the Electricity Department disconnected the electricity connection.
The petitioner told the Court that he was not sinking any new well and that he had not constructed any new pump house. He said that he was only in the process of repairing/maintaining the well, already in existence and that a plastic cover was put up on the pump installed near this existing well. He claimed that he was using the property in question only for agricultural purposes.
The single bench Judge Justice Mahesh S Sonak stated that from the material placed on record by the petitioner and the statements made in his affidavit, prima facie, the action of disconnecting the petitioner’s electricity connection appears to be disproportionate, particularly when it was an interim measure, and until the Deputy Collector finally decides on the issue of alleged illegal conversion.