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Court power prod to bank

Patna High Court on Friday directed South Bihar Power Distribution Company Limited (SBPDCL) to snap power to HDFC Bank’s SK Puri branch with immediate effect.

A high court bench, comprising Justice V.N. Sinha and Justice P.K. Jha, passed the order. The bench had on Thursday asked the state why power connection was granted to commercial installations in residential areas. SBPDCL was asked to reply on Friday how it could give a power connection to illegal constructions.

On Friday, the high court took the SBPDCL counsel to task for failing to provide any reasonable excuse. At one point, Justice V.N. Sinha even told the counsel: “I fail to understand why, representing a public body, you are acting like this.” The high court had earlier told the energy department to stop power to buildings declared illegal by Patna Municipal Corporation (PMC).

But the bank continued to get power despite frequent letters from the PMC commissioner asking SBPDCL’s managing director to delink power to the building housing the bank.

PMC had even pasted a showcause notice outside the bank. At the PMC commissioner’s court, bank authorities were asked to produce details like date from which the branch became operational, legality behind using space for commercial purpose in a residential area. The bank failed to produce anything. PMC commissioner Kuldip Narayan then served it a showcause notice asking why the branch should not be shut down.”

HDFC had filed a plea in high court, challenging PMC’s request to snap power to the bank. But the court on Friday said PMC was acting on its behalf. The bench even asked the bank’s counsel if he was interested in withdrawing the petition, which the latter did after consulting its authorities. The court then pronounced the order to snap power to the bank effective from Friday itself.

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