The Supreme Court bench of Justices Indira Banerjee and CT Ravikumar stated that electricity is a basic amenity that no one should be denied.
In this case, tenants petitioned the Court of the Rent Controller, Aurangabad, under Section 17 of the Hyderabad Rent Control Act, requesting that the landlord install an electricity connection to the abovementioned shop.
Following the rejection of this petition, the tenant filed for supply of power in his own name on the basis of a “No Objection” letter and was granted supply of electricity to the aforementioned shop in his own name.
These comments were made in an order setting aside a High Court order that had overturned a FIR filed against a Tenant who allegedly forged landlord signatures on a No – Objection certificate submitted to the Electricity Board.
The landlord subsequently filed a FIR saying that the no objection letter was manufactured and that the tenant forged his brother’s signatures. The High Court dismissed the FIR after hearing the accused-petition.
The court noted that the tenant required electricity to run his business, but the landlord refused to issue a no objection certificate.
“The electricity board seeks no objection of landlord only to verify that the possession of the tenant is authorised. There is no other purpose behind obtaining such no objection from landlord. The landlord cannot prevent the tenant from availing such facility at his own cost. The aforesaid circumstances need to be kept in mind and then the definition of forgery, cheating etc given in the IPC needs to be seen. It cannot be said in the present matter that false records if any created has caused any harm to the property or person of the first informant.”
Electricity cannot be denied to a tenant because the landlord failed or refused to issue a no objection certificate. All the electrical supply authority needs to know is if the applicant for an electricity connection is occupying the property in question.
The bench did, however, find that the High Court faulted in dismissing the FIR.
“It cannot be said that fabrication and/or creation of records and/or forging a signature does not constitute an offence under the Indian Penal Code. The High Court completely overlooked the definition of cheating in Section 415 of the IPC.”
The bench ordered that the electricity supply given not be terminated, subject to the tenants’ compliance with the terms and conditions of the electrical department’s supply of electricity, including payment of charges for the same.
Case Title: Dilip vs Satish