The Madras High Court on Thursday pulled up the Tamil Nadu Electricity Board (TNEB) for failing to file a counter affidavit in a PIL seeking proper maintenance of infrastructure relating to power supply and granted an extension of time for reply subject to payment of `20,000 as cost.
The petition was filed by the general secretary of Netaji Pokkuvarathu Thozhilalargal Pathukappu Thozil Sangam, R Anbazhagan, in 2011, seeking a direction for proper maintenance of power supply infrastructure, such as junction boxes and electric poles, which it alleged was in a “pathetic condition” and posed safety hazard to public.
The first bench comprising Chief Justice E Y Iqbal and Justice T S Sivagnanam observed that it was important to take notice of the fact that the TNEB is “totally ineffective” even to pursue the court proceedings in as much as counter affidavits were not being filed within time as directed by the court.
“In this instant case also, direction was given as far back as April 2 for filing affidavit. But till date, no counter has been filed although the matter appears to be very serious,” the bench observed.
The judges said that the prayer of the learned standing counsel of the Tamil Nadu Electricity Board, to provide two weeks further time for filing the counter affidavit, was being allowed subject to the payment of cost of `20,000 in favour of the High Court Legal Services Committee. The bench further directed that if the counter is not filed on the adjourned date, the Chairman of the board shall appear in person before the court.