Offences And Penalties

PART XIV
Offences And Penalties


Theft of Electricity.
135.
  1. Whoever, dishonestly, --
    1. taps, makes or causes to be made any connection with overhead, underground or under water lines or cables, or service wires, or service facilities of a licensee; or
    2. tampers a meter, installs or uses a tampered meter, current reversing transformer, loop connection or any other device or method which interferes with accurate or proper registration, calibration or metering of electric current or otherwise results in a manner whereby electricity is stolen or wasted; or
    3. damages or destroys an electric meter, apparatus, equipment, or wire or causes or allows any of them to be so damaged or destroyed as to interfere with the proper or accurate metering of electricity, so as to abstract or consume or use electricity shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to three years or with fine or with both: Provided that in a case where the load abstracted, consumed, or used or attempted abstraction or attempted consumption or attempted use -
      1. does not exceed 10 kilowatt, the fine imposed on first conviction shall not be less than three times the financial gain on account of such theft of electricity and in the event of second or subsequent conviction the fine imposed shall not be less than six times the financial gain on account of such theft of electricity; 2 of 1974
      2. exceeds 10 kilowatt, the fine imposed on first conviction shall not be less than three times the financial gain on account of such theft of electricity and in the event of second or subsequent conviction, the sentence shall be imprisonment for a term not less than six months but which may extend to five years and with fine not less than six times the financial gain on account of such theft of electricity: Provided further that if it is proved that any artificial means or means not authorized by the Board or licensee exist for the abstraction, consumption or use of electricity by the consumer, it shall be presumed, until the contrary is proved, that any abstraction, consumption or use of electricity has been dishonestly caused by such consumer.
  2. Any officer authorized in this behalf by the State Government may - -
    1. enter, inspect, break open and search any place or premises in which he has reason to believe that electricity has been, is being, or is likely to be, used unauthorisedly;
    2. search, seize and remove all such devices, instruments, wires and any other facilitator or article which has been, is being, or is likely to be, used for unauthorized use of electricity;
    3. examine or seize any books of account or documents which in his opinion shall be useful for or relevant to, any proceedings in respect of the offence under sub-section (1) and allow the person from whose custody such books of account or documents are seized to make copies thereof or take extracts therefrom in his presence.
  3. The occupant of the place of search or any person on his behalf shall remain present during the search and a list of all things seized in the course of such search shall be prepared and delivered to such occupant or person who shall sign the list: Provided that no inspection, search and seizure of any domestic places or domestic premises shall be carried out between sunset and sunrise except in the presence of an adult male member occupying such premises. 2 of 1974
  4. The provisions of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973, relating to search and seizure shall apply, as far as may be, to searches and seizure under this Act.
Theft of electric lines and materials.
136.
  1. Whoever, dishonestly --
    1. cuts or removes or takes way or transfers any electric line, material or meter from a tower, pole, any other installation or place of installation or any other place, or site where it may be rightfully or lawfully stored, deposited, kept, stocked, situated or located including during transportation, without the consent of the licensee or the owner, as the case may be, whether or not the act is done for profit or gain; or
    2. stores, possesses or otherwise keeps in his premises, custody or control, any electric line, material or meter without the consent of the owner, whether or not the act is committed for profit or gain; or
    3. loads, carries, or moves from one place to another any electric line, material or meter without the consent of its owner, whether or not the act is done for profit or gain,done for profit or gain, is said to have committed an offence of theft of electric lines and materials, and shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to three years or with fine or with both.
  2. If a person, having been convicted of an offence punishable under sub-section (1) is again guilty of an offence punishable under that subsection, he shall be punishable for the second or subsequent offence for a term of imprisonment which shall not be less than six months but which may extend to five years and shall also be liable to fine which shall not be less than ten thousand rupees.
Punishment for receiving stolen property
137.

Whoever, dishonestly receives any stolen electric lines or materials knowing or having reasons to believe the same to be stolen property, shall be punishable with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to three years or with fine or with both.

Interference with meters or works of licensee.
138.
  1. (1) Whoever, -
    1. unauthorisedly connects any meter, indicator or apparatus with any electric line through which electricity is supplied by a licensee or disconnects the same from any such electric line; or
    2. unauthorisedly reconnects any meter, indicator or apparatus with any electric line or other works being the property of a licensee when the said electric line or other works has or have been cut or disconnected; or
    3. lays or causes to be laid, or connects up any works for the purpose of communicating with any other works belonging to a licensee; or
    4. maliciously injures any meter, indicator, or apparatus belonging to a licensee or willfully or fraudulently alters the index of any such meter, indicator or apparatus or prevents any such meter, indicator or apparatus from duly registering, shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to three years, or with fine which may extend to ten thousand rupees, or with both, and , in the case of a continuing offence, with a daily fine which may extend to five hundred rupees; and if it is proved that any means exist for making such connection as is referred to in clause (a) or such re-connection as is referred to in clause (b), or such communication as is referred to in clause (c), for causing such alteration or prevention as is referred to in clause (d), and that the meter, indicator or apparatus is under the custody or control of the consumer, whether it is his property or not, it shall be presumed, until the contrary is proved, that such connection, reconnection, communication, alteration, prevention or improper use, as the case may be, has been knowingly and willfully caused by such consumer.
Negligently wasting electricity or injuring works.
139.

Whoever, negligently causes electricity to be wasted or diverted or negligently breaks, injures, throws down or damages any material connected with the supply of electricity, shall be punishable with fine which may extend to ten thousand rupees.

Penalty for maliciously wasting electricity or injuring works.
140.

Whoever, maliciously causes electricity to be wasted or diverted, or , with intent to cut off the supply of electricity, cuts or injures, or attempts to cut or injure, any electric supply line or works, shall be punishable with fine which may extend to ten thousand rupees.

Extinguishing public lamps.
141.

Whoever, maliciously extinguishes any public lamp shall be punishable with fine which may be extend to two thousand rupees.

Punishment for non-compliance of directions by Appropriate Commission.
142.

In case any complaint is filed before the Appropriate Commission by any person or if that Commission is satisfied that any person has contravened any provisions of this Act or rules or regulations made thereunder, or any direction issued by the Commission, the Appropriate Commission may after giving such person an opportunity of being heard in the matter, by order in writing, direct that, without prejudice to any other penalty to which he may be liable under this Act, such person shall pay, by way of penalty, which shall not exceed one lakh rupees for each contravention and in case of a continuing failure with an additional penalty which may extend to six thousand rupees for every day during which the failure continues after contravention of the first such direction.

Power to adjudicate.
143.
  1. For the purpose of adjudging under this Act, the Appropriate Commission shall appoint any of its Members to be an adjudicating officer for holding an inquiry in such manner as may be prescribed by the Appropriate Government ,after giving any person concerned a reasonable opportunity of being heard for the purpose of imposing any penalty.
  2. While holding an inquiry, the adjudicating officer shall have power to summon and enforce the attendance of any person acquainted with the facts and circumstances of the case to give evidence or produce any document which in the opinion of the adjudicating officer, may be useful for or relevant to the subject-matter of the inquiry, and if, on such inquiry, he is satisfied that the person has failed to comply with the provisions of section 29 or section 33 or section 43, he may impose such penalty as he thinks fit in accordance with the provisions of any of those sections.
Factors to be taken into account by adjudicating officer.
144.

While adjudicating the quantum of penalty under section 29 or section 33 or section 43, the adjudicating officer shall have due regard to the following factors, namely:-

  1. the amount of disproportionate gain or unfair advantage, wherever quantifiable, made as a result of the default;
  2. the repetitive nature of the default.
Civil court not to have jurisdiction
145.

No civil court shall have jurisdiction to entertain any suit or proceeding in respect of any matter which an assessing officer referred to in section 126 or an appellate authority referred to in section 127 or the adjudicating officer appointed under this Act is empowered by or under this Act to determine and no injunction shall be granted by any court or other authority in respect of any action taken or to be taken in pursuance of any power conferred by or under this Act.

Punishment for non-compliance of orders or directions.
146.

Whoever, fails to comply with any order or direction given under this Act, within such time as may be specified in the said order or direction or contravenes or attempts or abets the contravention of any of the provisions of this Act or any rules or regulations made thereunder, shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to three months or with fine, which may extend to one lakh rupees, or with both in respect of each offence and in the case of a continuing failure, with an additional fine which may extend to five thousand rupees for every day during which the failure continues after conviction of the first such offence.

Penalties not to affect other liabilities.
147.

The penalties imposed under this Act shall be in addition to, and not in derogation of, any liability in respect of payment of compensation or, in the case of a licensee, the revocation of his licence which the offender may have incurred.

Penalty where works belong to Government.
148.

The provisions of this Act shall, so far as they are applicable, be deemed to apply also when the acts made punishable thereunder are committed in the case of electricity supplied by or of works belonging to the Appropriate Government.

Offences by companies.
149.
  1. Where an offence under this Act has been committed by a company, every person who at the time the offence was committed was in charge of and was responsible to the company for the conduct of the business of the company, as well as the company shall be deemed to be guilty of having committed the offence and shall be liable to be proceeded against and punished accordingly: Provided that nothing contained in this sub-section shall render any such person liable to any punishment if he proves that the offence was committed without his knowledge or that he had exercised all due diligence to prevent the commission of such offence.
  2. Notwithstanding anything contained in sub-section (1), where an offence under this Act has been committed by a company and it is proved that the offence has been committed with the consent or connivance of or is attributable to any neglect on the part of any director, manager, secretary or other officer of the company, such director, manager, secretary or other officer shall also be deemed to be guilty of having committed such offence and shall be liable to be proceeded against and punished accordingly.
    Explanation. - For the purpose of this section,-
    1. "company" means a body corporate and includes a firm or other association of individuals; and
    2. "director", in relation to a firm, means a partner in the firm.
Abatement.
150.
45 of 1860.
  1. Whoever abets an offence punishable under this Act, shall, notwithstanding anything contained in the Indian Penal Code, be punished with the punishment provided for the offence.
  2. Without prejudice to any penalty or fine which may be imposed or prosecution proceeding which may be initiated under Act or any other law for the time being in force, if any officer or other employee of the Board or the licensee enters intro or acquiesces in any agreement to do, abstains from doing, permits, conceals or connives at any act or thing whereby any theft of electricity is committed, he shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to three years, or with fine, or with both.
Cognizance of offences.
151.

No court shall take cognizance of an offence punishable under this Act except upon a complaint in writing made by Appropriate Government or Appropriate Commission or any of their officer authorized by them or a Chief Electrical Inspector or an Electrical Inspector or licensee or the generating company, as the case may be, for this purpose.

Compounding of offences.
152.
2 of 1974.
  1. Notwithstanding anything contained in the Code of Criminal Procedure 1973, the Appropriate Government or any officer authorized by it in this behalf may accept from any consumer or person who committed or who is reasonably suspected of having committed an offence of theft of electricity punishable under this Act, a sum of money by way of compounding of the offence as specified in the Table below:
  2. TABLE
    Nature of Service Rate at which the sum of money for
    Compounding to be collected per
    Kilowatt(KW)/Horse Power(HP) or part
    thereof for Low Tension (LT) supply and
    per Kilo Volt Ampere(KVA) of contracted
    demand for High Tension (HT)
    1 2
    1. Industrial Service
    2. Commercial Service
    3. Agricultural Service
    4. Other Services
    twenty thousand rupees;
    ten thousand rupees;
    two thousand rupees;
    four thousand rupees:

    Provided that the Appropriate Government may, by notification in the Official Gazette, amend the rates specified in the Table above.

  3. On payment of the sum of money in accordance with sub-section (1), any person in custody in connection with that offence shall be set at liberty and no proceedings shall be instituted or continued against such consumer or person in any criminal court.
  4. The acceptance of the sum of money for compounding an offence in accordance with sub-section (1) by the Appropriate Government or an officer authorised in this behalf empowered in this behalf shall be deemed to amount to an acquittal within the meaning of section 300 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973.
  5. The Compounding of an offence under sub-section (1) shall be allowed only once for any person or consumer.