Mohamed Imranullah S.

He was denied electricity connection over jurisdictional dispute

“Assess property tax”

TNEB directed to provide supply

MADURAI: The Madras High Court Bench here on Wednesday came to the rescue of a 50-year-old V. Murugaiah who was denied electricity connection for his house, built a couple of years ago, due to a jurisdictional dispute between two village panchayats over collection of tax for the property situated near the border dividing the two villages.

Disposing of a writ appeal filed by him, a Division Bench comprising Justice F.M. Ibrahim Kalifulla and Justice K.B.K. Vasuki directed the Virudhunagar Collector to assess the property tax and collect it from the petitioner until the disposal of a civil suit pending before a lower court between the Irukankudi and Naththathupatti panchayats in Sattur Taluk.

The Collector should hand over the amount to the panchayat which turns out successful in the civil suit. In the meantime, the Tamil Nadu Electricity Board (TNEB) was directed to provide power supply to the petitioner's residence after obtaining necessary indemnity bond, besides an undertaking that he would pay the tax arrears and submit a copy of the receipt in proof of such payment.

“In the fight between the 3{+r}{+d} and 4{+t}{+h} respondents (panchayats), the claim of the petitioner for supply of electricity to his house, which is a basic necessity, cannot be denied… The stand of the 5{+t}{+h} respondent (TNEB) that there will be a law and order problem between the two villages cannot also be a ground to deny electricity connection to the petitioner,” the judges said. In his affidavit, Murugaiah said that he purchased 1,091 sq.ft., of land on September 5, 2006 and constructed a house two years back. But his plea for power connection was rejected by the TNEB officials on the ground that both the panchayats had raised objections to provide the connection.

The officials also apprehended a communal clash if the petitioner's plea was accepted. The petitioner filed a writ petition stating that his children undergoing higher education were unable to study in the evenings due to absence of electricity.

A single judge of the High Court dismissed the writ petition on January 28 on the ground the petitioner could seek relief by including himself as a party in the civil suit and hence, the present writ appeal.