The Supreme Court said on Monday that there is no need to set up a separate constitution bench to hear appeals filed against a 2015 Delhi High Court order which did not allow the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of India to audit the privately run power distribution companies (discoms) in the national Capital. The apex court earlier sought responses from the private power discoms on three petitions filed by the Delhi government, the CAG and a resident welfare association (RWA) body. The petitions were filed after the Delhi HC on October 2015, had quashed the AAP government’s 2014 decision for CAG audit of the discoms.
The HC had said the CAG audit would not serve any public purpose as its scope would only be tariff determination, which lies completely within the domain of the Delhi Electricity Regulatory Authority (DERC). Electricity in Delhi is supplied by Tata Power Delhi Distribution (TPDDL) and BSES (BSES Rajdhani and BSES Yamuna) — joint ventures of the Delhi government with the power distribution units of Tata Power and Reliance Infrastructure, respectively. The Delhi government owns 49% stake in the entities.
The Delhi government had claimed before the SC that the discoms had inflated balance-sheets and asset valuations, leading to higher tariffs. CAG had argued that auditing the Discoms were within the constitutional mandate as the transactions of these companies involve government receivable. BSES had earlier put up the argument that DERC, is vested with ample powers to regulate, audit and investigate into various aspects of the business of BSES, which cannot be interfered with by the CAG.