The Delhi Government will move to the Supreme Court challenging the appointment of Justice (Retd) Umesh Kumar as the Chairperson of the Delhi Electricity Regulatory Commission (DERC). Power Minister Ms Atishi has labelled this appointment as an absolutely unconstitutional and unlawful move of the Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) Central Government. Ms Atishi explained that “Electricity” is a transferred subject, and the Central Government is bound to act in accordance with the aid and advice of the elected state government on all matters falling under the Power Department. She highlighted that the BJP’s deliberate ignorance of the elected state government’s recommendation for Justice (Retd) Sangeet Lodha as DERC Chairperson is a clear violation of this principle.
Expressing concern over the intentions of the BJP, Ms Atishi accused the party of conspiring to shut down the free and 24×7 electricity scheme in Delhi. She asserted that this is an act of revenge against the people of Delhi for repeatedly electing Chief Minister Shri Arvind Kejriwal to power. However, Ms Atishi also reiterated that the Chief Minister is unwavering in his commitment to the welfare of Delhiites and vows to protect the free electricity scheme at all costs.
Drawing attention to the stark disparities in power tariffs across the country, the Power Minister revealed that BJP-ruled states have the highest electricity costs. In comparison to Delhi’s affordable rate of ₹4.5 per unit, Assam charges ₹8.2 per unit, Uttar Pradesh charges ₹6.5 per unit, Madhya Pradesh charges ₹6.74 per unit, and Maharashtra charges an exorbitant ₹10.38 per unit. Ms Atishi emphasised that the Delhi Government’s free electricity scheme has been instrumental in alleviating the burden on the people and vows to safeguard it.
In a scathing attack, Power Minister Ms. Atishi accused the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led central government of attempting to subvert democracy in Delhi. She condemned the clandestine issuance of a notification during the late hours, appointing the Chairman of the Delhi Electricity Regulatory Commission (DERC) against the recommendation of the elected Delhi government. Ms Atishi characterised this appointment as not only illegal and unconstitutional but also a vindictive act aimed at seeking revenge from the people of Delhi.
Asserting the authority of the elected government, Ms Atishi highlighted the Supreme Court’s repeated stance that, apart from land, public order, and police issues, all governance matters in Delhi are “transferred,” thereby granting decision-making power to the elected government. Disregarding this principle, the BJP-led central government unlawfully appointed Justice Umesh Kumar as the Chairman of DERC, disregarding the elected government’s recommendation of Justice Sangeet Lodha, a retired justice of the Rajasthan High Court.
Emphasising the dubious motives behind this appointment, Ms Atishi stated that the decision was made with the intent to harass the people of Delhi. She pointed out that the people of Delhi have consistently chosen Shri Arvind Kejriwal as their Chief Minister in overwhelming numbers and the BJP perceives this as a threat and seeks to retaliate against the citizens of Delhi. Ms Atishi also announced that the BJP aims to deprive the people of Delhi of 24×7 free electricity and desires to replicate the power situation in neighbouring areas such as Noida, Ghaziabad, and Gurugram, where prolonged power cuts are commonplace due to the inability of BJP governments to provide uninterrupted electricity to their residents.
According to Ms Atishi, the BJP’s discontent stems from the fact that Shri Arvind Kejriwal, the Chief Minister of Delhi, has successfully delivered the cheapest electricity rates in the country. Delhi currently boasts the lowest electricity tariffs compared to other states. In contrast, BJP-ruled states impose the highest power tariffs, with Assam charging ₹8.2 per unit, Uttar Pradesh charging ₹6.5 per unit, Madhya Pradesh charging ₹6.74 per unit, and Maharashtra charging a staggering ₹10.38 per unit for consumers.
The Power Minister further highlighted the significant impact made by Chief Minister Shri Arvind Kejriwal in reducing electricity costs for the citizens of Delhi. She emphasised that prior to the CM’s tenure, electricity prices in Delhi experienced unreasonable and frequent hikes, burdening ordinary families who had to sacrifice essential purchases to pay their bills. Since Shri Arvind Kejriwal assumed office, electricity prices in Delhi have remained stable.
Ms Atishi vehemently stated that the BJP’s ulterior motive behind the late-night notification is to destabilise the power sector in Delhi, dismantle the provision of free electricity, and impose exorbitant costs on the people. This move is aimed at subjecting the people of Delhi to prolonged power cuts, similar to the experiences of residents in neighbouring areas. However, Ms Atishi assured all Delhiites that Chief Minister Shri Arvind Kejriwal and his government are unwavering in their commitment to fight against this unconstitutional notification and the appointment of the DERC Chairman.
In the days to come, the Delhi Government will approach the Supreme Court to challenge this unlawful appointment. The government holds full confidence that the Supreme Court will strike down this order and uphold the principles of justice and democratic governance.