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A petition has been filed in Kerala High Court seeking regulation of manufacture and sale of Inverter/ UPS by including the same in the Schedule to the Household Electrical Appliances (Quality Control) Order, 1981.
The petition has been filed by one Zainudheen SA whose wife Balkees was electrocuted by an inverter.
As per the petition, Balkees was cleaning the living room of her house when her hands came into contact with the input plug of the inverter which was disconnected from the plug point at the time of the contact. Despite the input plug being disconnected, she was electrocuted.
The petition explains the issue further. The inverter had an input plug and output plug. The input plug drew electricity from the Kerala State Electricity Board’s (KSEB) connection to the battery via the inverter. The output plug supplied electricity from the battery via the inverter to the selected electrical loads at the petitioner’s home at the time of a power failure of the KSEB connection.
The electrocution happened because there was electricity supply in the input plug which was disconnected from the plug point at the time of the contact.
This, the petitioner has contended should not have happened since the input plug is used only to draw electricity from the KSEB connection to charge the battery. It is the petitioner’s case that the presence of electric supply in the input plug happened due to two reasons. Firstly, there was no Double Pole Relay in the Inverter, which is used to get the Automatic Back Feed Protection. Secondly, the Neutral, Earth Terminals were not fixed to the Output Plug in the Inverter Output Socket.
The Double Pole Relay was not placed in the Inverter by the manufacturer so as to reduce the manufacturing costs and maximise profits, the petition states. Similarly, the retailer which sold the inverter did not fix Neutral, Earth Terminals to the Output Plug in the Inverter Output Socket which also contributed to the death of the petitioner’s wife.
Thus, the petitioner contends that the callous acts and deliberate omissions of the manufacturer and retailer resulted in the tragedy.
The petition then goes on to point out the legal omission which has led to the situation. The Central government had by way of Notification of 1981 issued the Household Electrical Appliances (Quality Control) Order, 1981. This Order prevents the manufacture/storage/sale/distribution of scheduled household electrical appliances which do not conform to the specified standards having Manufacturers Certificate or standard mark of Bureau of Indian Standards.
At present, there are 33 items in the schedule to the Household Electrical Appliances (Quality Control) Order, 1981. However, an Inverter/ Uninterruptible Power Systems (UPS), which is commonly found in numerous houses does not find a mention in the Household Electrical Appliances (Quality Control) Order, 1981, the petitioner submits.
The State of Kerala by way of a 2002 Government Order had decided to implement three Quality Control Orders in the State including the Household Electrical Appliances (Quality Control) Order, 1981. It also appointed the Chief Electrical Inspector as the Appropriate Authority to implement these Quality Control Orders.
But since an inverter is not included in the schedule to the Household Electrical Appliances (Quality Control) Order, 1981, the Department of Electrical Inspectorate, is not presently empowered to regulate the manufacture, storage, sale and distribution of the Inverters which do not conform to the specified standards having Manufacturers Certificate or standard mark of the BIS.
This, the petitioner contends, has led to a situation where substandard inverters are being manufactured, stored, sold and distributed freely in the market leading to electrical accidents like in the case of petitioner’s wife.
The petitioner has, therefore, prayed for a direction to the Central government to include Inverter/ UPS in the Schedule to the Household Electrical Appliances (Quality Control) Order, 1981.
He has also sought compensation to the tune of Rs. 25 lakh from the Inverter manufacturer, Microtek International Private Limited and Rs. 5 lakh from the proprietor of the retailer, Sahir S.
A Bench of Justice Devan Ramachandran issued notice to the respondents and posted the matter for further hearing on July 23. Advocates Raghul Sudheesh and Lakshmi J appeared for the petitioner.