By Accommodation Times Bureau
The Karnataka High Court has rejected the petition filed by Md Hasnuddin ,which
had challenged the rule that makes solar water heaters mandatory for new houses.
A resident of Kalaburgi- Md Hasnuddin- had challenged the 2010 notification of
the Karnataka Electricity Regulatory Commissioner which was published in the
Karnataka Gazette the same year.
The petition alleged the rule that it violated fundamental rights — and
discriminatory — as only those who build houses above a certain limit had to
install the solar heaters. The High Court, however, found no substance in the
Md Hasnuddin, who constructed a house on a 30ftx40ft plot, applied for electricity
connection which was sanctioned with a condition that he had to submit a
certificate showing the installation of a solar water heater. His advocate argued that
the rule was discriminatory as it restricted the mandatory provision only to
residential premises which is built over 600 sqft over a plot size of 1,200 sqft
falling within municipality and corporation limits. Other smaller houses and those
in rural areas are exempted. It was argued that it added to the miseries of low-
income house owners.
The HC has said that the Constitution mandates equal treatment of similarly
situated persons and no indigenous discrimination. But there was no discrimination
within a group of persons, in this case those with houses in plots 1,200 sqft and
The HC has also said that the policy decision of the government cannot be
interfered with. It said, "No doubt, it is the dream and ambition of the citizens to
own a housing of their own. In the venture of building a home, installing of solar
water heater mandatorily, would not in any way add to their miseries. On the other
hand, it sub-serves the object of reducing electricity bills besides protecting
environment. The policy decision of the government cannot be interfered by the
courts more particularly, when the policy is projected in the interest of the public."
The court said that the rule was valid as per the Constitution. The HC said that the
argument that the rules that make solar water heater compulsory for new homes
does not violate the fundamental rights. It said, "The process of generation of
electricity is complex and power tariff is increasing day by day which otherwise
can by suitably reduced by using the solar energy, with this avowed object a
paradigm shift is necessary by way of imposing the condition of installing the solar
water heater in the buildings. This decision cannot partake the character of
extraneous consideration or discrimination in violation of fundamental rights under
Constitution of India. Similarly, directing the particular class/group of buildings to
install solar water heater system mandatorily cannot be construed as violative of
Article 19(1)(e) of the Constitution of India."