Lack of quorum: Supreme Court extends CERC hearing suspension

By: |
September 26, 2020 6:30 AM

The apex court, in its August 28 order, had indefinitely suspended CERC hearings due to short-staff, leading to no cases being heard throughout September.

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 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 Supreme Court (SC) on Friday said that hearings at the Central Electricity Regulatory Commission (CERC) cannot happen until the regulator does not appoint a person from law as a commission member.

The apex court, in its August 28 order, had indefinitely suspended CERC hearings due to short-staff, leading to no cases being heard throughout September. The SC had then 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.

CERC has already initiated the recruitment process of the person from law as one of its members. The SC will take up the matter next on October 26. “Liberty to the government to apply for vacation of the arrangement in case the process is completed and the person appointed before that date,” it said on Friday.

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, the regulator was exploring legal opinions to see if the chairperson of the Central Electricity Authority, who is the ex-officio member, can join CERC chairperson PK Pujari, to continue hearings.

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.

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