HC refuses relief to Tata Power in tiff against Reliance

The Bombay High Court on Friday refused to grant any interim relief to Tata Power Co (TPC) in its tussle with Reliance Infrastructure over power supply for Mumbai suburbs. As a result, TPC will have to continue supplying 360 MW of power to Reliance, as directed by the state government.

The state on its part sought to shrug off some responsibility, say that it has given no directive to the company but just ''issued an advisory''. However, the state made it clear that it has the authority to issue orders to power companies in ''extraordinary circumstances''.

Advocate general Ravi Kadam said such circumstances include power scarcity, as per a Karnataka High Court ruling.

The dispute centres on the supply of power by Tata to Reliance. Tata's lawyer said the company had been pressing Reliance to sign a power purchase agreement since 2003, but to no avail.

As per the arrangement, Tata supplies 360 MW to Reliance, which supplies power in the suburbs. Tata has challenged the government memorandum to the Maharashtra Electricity Regulatory Commission (MERC), which says it should continue to supply power to Reliance till 30 June.

The division bench of acting chief justice JN Patel and justice SC Dharmadhikari held that since the Maharashtra Electricity regulatory Commission would be looking into the matter of power diversion by the Maharashtra State Load Despatch Centre (MSLDC) to Reliance Infra, there was no requirement to set aside an advisory.

The state government in its affidavit submitted that TPC had not challenged any action taken by MSLDC before the high court. The MSLDC decisions have been challenged before the MERC and are pending before it. So this issue cannot be dealt with by the high court as of now.