The apex court’s decision was in response to a plea seeking to enforce its own 2018 order which mandated a person from law to be appointed first as commission members.
The Central Electricity Regulatory Commission (CERC) has indefinitely suspended its September hearings due to short-staff. The Supreme Court (SC) on Friday asked two of the regulator’s members to go on leave. The apex court’s decision was in response to a plea seeking to enforce its own 2018 order which mandated a person from law to be appointed first as commission members.
As per its organisational structure, the CERC is headed by the chairperson, along with four members: law, technical, finance and ex-officio. The position for the law member currently remains vacant. A minimum of two members needs to be there from the top positions to preside over hearings. With the two members on leave, government sources said that legal opinions are being explored to see if the chairperson of the regulator, who is the ex-officio member, can join CERC chairperson PK Pujari, to continue hearings.
Officials sent on leave are IS Jha (member-technical) and Arun Goyal (member-finance). “We make it clear that our order is not a reflection on the merits of the person/s appointed but it is necessary to ensure that the true intent and spirit of the order passed by us is adhered to,” the apex court said. The SC will take up the matter again on September 25. The members on leave will be permitted to rejoin if a person of law is appointed within that time.
Among others, cases filed by NTPC to determine the additional tariffs it can charge to discoms for setting up pollution-reducing equipment in its various power plants were scheduled to be heard this month. The CERC approves the increase in tariffs that additional expenditure necessitates for NTPC power plants.