Etude Guy Rivalland

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Central Electricity Board v. New Mauritius Hotels Ltd (2017 SCJ 297)

10/08/2017

CEB (the Plaintiff) was claiming from New Mauritius Hotels Ltd (the Defendant) the sum of Rs 33,943,879 for the supply of electricity by the former to the latter for the period from 1 November 2004 to the 1st October 2007, period during which the Plaintiff allegedly under billed the Defendant by half the amount of electricity consumed by the latter.

The Issue:
Does error/ negligence and/or want of caution on behalf of the Plaintiff (inasmuch as there has been no tampering of equipment registering consumption of electricity by the Defendant but failure to effect installation as per the instructions of its clients) entitle it to claim from its customers the balance of the amount under billed?

Held:
Reference was made to article 1110 of the Code Civil mauricien and Droit Civil Les Obligations 5e Édition by Terré, Simler et Lequette at paragraphe 215 to determine whether error/ negligence and/or want of caution of the CEB is an ‘érreur excusable’

L’erreur excusable.

Fausse représentation de la réalité, l’erreur doit-elle être prise en compte lorsque celui qui s’est trompé avait en sa possession ou aurait pu aisément se procurer tous les éléments nécessaires à la connaissance de cette réalité? Le droit répond par la négative. L’erreur doit être excusable. En s’abstenant de prendre les précautions élémentaires, l’errans a manqué à son devoir de s’informer. Il a commis une faute de négligence qui sera sanctionnée par un refus d’annulation. De non vigilantibus non curat praetor (Des insouciants le préteur n’a cure).

The following was held by the Judge of the Supreme Court hearing the matter:
The plea taken by NMH to the effect that the CEB is not entitled to relief for any loss that it may have suffered from its sole fault, negligence, imprudence or lack of caution, is therefore well taken. I need not consider the other points in law taken on behalf of NMH.

The Plaint of the Plaintiff was therefore dismissed. With Costs.

Attorney for the Defendant: Etude Guy Rivalland

Please view full text here: Central Electricity Board v. New Mauritius Hotels Ltd (2017 SCJ 297) [PDF]

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