APTEL insiders said some of these cases are pending since 2013, while many others are in limbo for more than 180 days mandated by the Electricity Act for disposing appeals. The disputes are related to a diverse range of issues and the delayed judicial process, thus, affects stakeholders across the electricity supply chain.
This goes against the grain of reforms where speedy settlement of commercial disputes, which was one of the main objectives for setting up the body, is necessary to instils investor confidence. There are two courts under the APTEL. As of Jan 30, some 930 ‘long matters’ and 161 ‘short matters’ are pending in Court-1 and 586 long matters and 57 short matters in Court-2. The total number of pending cases stood at 888 as of Nov 2022.
While insiders blamed fault lines within the body and skewed work allocation for the slow pace of adjudication, it is also partly because APTEL has not functioned with its full sanctioned strength, which lead to the backlog.