Power regulatory bodies must have a judicial member: SC
The Supreme Court ordered that one of the members of electricity regulatory commissions should be a person of judicial background, quashing orders of various high courts that the chairperson of such bodies in states should be a high court judge. The top court also said the judicial member should be part of the quorum in adjudicatory matters.
The union government has yet to ascertain whether last week’s verdict will apply to the Central Electricity Regulatory Commission as well, sources said.
“Section 84(2) of the said (Electricity) Act is only an enabling provision to appoint a high court judge as a chairperson of the state commission of the said Act and it is not mandatory to do so,” the verdict said.
“It is mandatory that there should be a person of law as a member of the commission, which requires a person, who is, or has been, holding a judicial office or is a person possessing professional qualifications with substantial experience in the practice of law, who has the requisite qualifications to have been appointed as a judge of the high court or a district judge,” it said. In any adjudicatory function of the state commission, it is mandatory for a member having the aforesaid legal expertise to be a member of the bench, it added.
The judgment will apply prospectively and not affect the orders already passed by commissions from time to time.
The Economic Times, New Delhi, 20th April 2018