Telangana HC dismisses KCR's petition against power purchase agreement probe

The court also overruled the objections raised by KCR over Justice Narasimha Reddy addressing a press conference.
Telangana HC
Telangana HCPhoto | Express

HYDERABAD: The Telangana High Court on Monday dismissed the petition filed by BRS president and former chief minister K Chandrasekhar Rao challenging the Justice L Narasimha Reddy Judicial Commission, which is probing the alleged irregularities in the power purchase agreement with Chhattisgarh as well as in the construction of the Bhadradri and Yadadri thermal power stations.

The bench headed by Chief Justice Alok Aradhe ruled that “we do not find any merit in the writ petition and the same fails. In the result, the writ petition is dismissed in limine. There shall be no order as to costs. Miscellaneous petitions, pending if any, shall stand closed”.

Chandrasekhar Rao’s contention that the Commission was “biased” and “predetermined” was overruled by the bench. Rao’s argument that the issues relating to the Chhattisgarh PPA were adjudicated by the respective Electricity Regulatory Commissions too was not taken into consideration.

“It is evident that the Terms of Reference are far wider than the issues adjudicated by the State Regulatory Commissions with regard to fixation of tariff and do not include the issues adjudicated by the aforesaid Commissions. Therefore, the contention that the Commission does not have jurisdiction to adjudicate the issues which have been decided by the Telangana State Electricity Regulatory Commission and the Chhattisgarh State Electricity Regulatory Commission, which are quasi judicial bodies, does not deserve acceptance,” the High Court order said.

The Commission had jurisdiction to enquire into the Terms of Reference, the court felt. The court also overruled the objections raised by KCR over Justice Narasimha Reddy addressing a press conference.

“It is evident that the conference was held to update the media about the status of the proceedings before the Commission. The statement that ‘power plant is not in existence, it is under construction’ is based on record. The relevant extract does not contain any material so as to indicate that Justice Narasimha Reddy has pre-judged the issues pending before him. The Commission is required to record the findings on the basis of material produced before it. We cannot also lose sight of the fact that Justice Narasimha Reddy held the Constitutional office of the Chief Justice and has worked as Constitutional functionary. The allegation of bias against him is solely based on the statement reportedly made in the press conference and no other material has been produced to show that the proceeding before Narasimha Reddy Commission is vitiated on account of personal bias,” the order said.

The court further said that: “The allegation of bias cannot be inferred but have to be established. In the facts and circumstances of the case, we hold that the petitioner has failed to prove the plea of bias against Justice Narasimha Reddy”.

Senior Counsel Aditya Sondhi argued on behalf of Chandrasekhar Rao and Advocate-General A Sudershan Reddy appeared on behalf of the State government.

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