After four months of the shutdown, normalcy returns to the Central Electricity Regulatory Commission (CERC) with the Ministry of Power (MoP) finally appointing a member of law in the Commission.
The Appointments Committee of the Union Cabinet approved the MoP’s proposal to appoint Pravas Kumar Singh, Member (Legal) of the Jharkhand State Electricity Regulatory Commission (JSERC), as the new member (Law) of the CERC. Singh will serve as a legal member of CERC for five years or until he attains the age of 65, while the term of other members of the CERC is only three years.
The appointment of the new member of law signals the resumption of work at CERC. Developers in the power sector and other stakeholders were in a dilemma as cases were pending before the CERC.
Headed by the chairperson and four members – law, technical, finance, and ex-officio – the CERC needs at least two members to preside over hearings. Meanwhile, through an affidavit, the CERC had informed the apex court that in 177 cases, orders had been reserved due to the SC’s intervention since August 28, 2020.
Last week, the Supreme Court had pulled up the MoP for failing to appoint a member of law in the CERC since August 2020. The apex court had extended the stay on the Commission’s functioning to January 20, 2021, when the matter was to be heard again.
In 2018, the court had ruled that all state electricity commissions would appoint a member from a legal background (high court or district court judge). The ruling also extended to the CERC, which was not adhered to. The MoP had informed the court that two advertisements were issued for the vacancy in 2019; however, the ministry could not appoint a suitable candidate.
Instead, the CERC appointed two non-judicial members- IS Jha (former chairman and managing director, Power Grid Corporation) and Arun Goyal (retired secretary, Government of India) – which prompted the Supreme Court to send the newly appointed members on leave until the Commission appoints a member of law.
Rahul is a staff reporter at Mercom India. Before entering the world of renewables, Rahul was head of the Gujarat bureau for The Quint. He has also worked for DNA Ahmedabad and Ahmedabad Mirror. Hailing from a banking and finance background, Rahul has also worked for JP Morgan Chase and State Bank of India. More articles from Rahul Nair.