A Punjab and Haryana High Court Bench of Justice Manjari Nehru Kaul has reiterated that electricity is an integral part of the right to life as enshrined under Article 21 of the Indian Constitution.

In this case, the Petitioner approached the High Court after his plea for a grant of interim relief by restoring electricity in his shop had been dismissed by the Civil Judge and Additional District Judge. The Petitioner was a tenant-shopkeeper whose electricity supply was disconnected by his landlord on the ground that the lease agreement between the two had expired and the Petitioner was an illegal occupant.

The matter of occupation of the shop premises was a pending suit.

Counsel Manoj Kumar Pundir appeared for the Petitioner, while Counsel Shantanu Bansal appeared for the Respondent.

The Court observed that "the question as to whether the petitioner is an illegal occupant of the suit property or not, or as to whether he is liable to be evicted or not, would be a matter of trial. The fact of the matter is that the petitioner is in possession of the suit property and still further his eviction has not yet been ordered by a competent Court of law."

Further, the Court emphasized that "electricity being a basic necessity, is an integral part of right to life as enshrined under Article 21 of the Constitution of India. Therefore, as long as the petitioner is in possession of the suit property, he cannot be deprived of electricity."

As a result, the Court ordered that the impugned order must be set aside, and the revision petition must be allowed. In that context, it was held that "In the facts and circumstances, without commenting upon merits of the suits instituted by both the parties, the instant revision petition is allowed and the impugned orders are set aside. The electricity connection of the suit property be restored subject to payment of requisite charges by the petitioner, if any, till the final decision of the suit filed by him. It is clarified that the petitioner shall continue to pay the electricity charges regularly."

The Court also clarified that the judgment could not be construed as an expression of opinion on the merit of the pending suits.

Cause Title: Om Parkash vs Balkar Singh and Others

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