As per Centre’s order, connection will be provided only in the name of adult member of household

There can be only one LPG domestic connection for one household as per the Liquefied Petroleum Gas (Regulation of supply and Distribution) Order, the Madras High Court has said.

The gas was being supplied at a subsidised rate. It was a concession extended to consumers. The Centre taking into consideration the alarming and excess demand for getting gas connection, thought it fit to amend the order by introducing the definition of “household” by replacing “person”.

The First Bench comprising the Chief Justice R.K.Agrawal and Justice M.Sathyanarayanan passed the judgment while upholding a single Judge’s order on a writ petition.

In the petition, R.Muthukrishnan said he was having an LPG connection at Nagapattinam from the IOC and had been getting refills for more than 10 years. In December 2011, he requested the gas agency to send a refill. On the gas agency’s direction, he produced the document relating to the gas connection. There was no response to his request to supply the cylinder. He filed the petition stating that stopping of the supply was highly arbitrary and illegal.

The IOC countered among other things that originally the petitioner obtained a gas connection from an agency at Adyar here. It was later terminated and transferred to Nagapattinam. During a routine check of domestic installations, it came to light that the petitioner’s mother was also having a gas connection and both were in the same address. It also came to light that the petitioner was having a gas connection at Valasaravakkam here and drawing refill supplies.

As per the order, a gas connection would be issued only in the name of the adult member of the household and thereby the person could not have more than one connection.

The single Judge dismissed the writ petition stating that the petitioner could have only one domestic connection under the public distribution system and could not have connection in each residence. Hence, Mr.Muthukrishnan preferred the present appeal.

The appellant contended that since the premises were at different places, it could not be treated as one household so as to deprive him of the connection at Nagapattinam.

After hearing the submissions of the IOC counsel, R.Ravi, and the material placed, the Bench said the Petroleum Ministry had sent letters on September 23, 2009 to the heads of oil corporations that one LPG domestic connection for one household, instead of one person, could be given and it should be done strictly. It ruled out multiple gas connections in a household.

Admittedly, the petitioner did not challenge the vires of the order and the September 2009 communication.

Even according to the petitioner, he was having two gas connections in his name. In the court’s opinion, the petitioner’s contention that a household meant two different addresses lacked merit.

The IOC thought it fit to disconnect the connection at Nagapattinam. There was no error apparent in the single Judge’s order, the Bench said.

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