Supreme Court of India
M/S Suzlon Energy Ltd. vs Jayanthi on 18 November, 2021Author: Uday Umesh Lalit

Bench: Uday Umesh Lalit, S. Ravindra Bhat




(Arising out of SLP (Crl.) No.7609 of 2021)



JAYANTHI & ORS. Respondents


Leave granted.

This appeal challenges the judgment and order dated

06.05.2021 passed by the High Court of Judicature at Madras in

W.A. No.1365 of 2021.

The instant proceedings arise out of Writ Petition

No.15896 of 2020 filed by the respondents challenging the

order dated 08.10.2020 passed by the third respondent in the

writ petition, granting permission to the present appellant to

erect electric towers in the lands of the writ petitioners,

under Section 16(1) of the Indian Telegraph Act, 1885.

Various grievances were raised by the original writ

petitioners which did not find any favour with the Single
Signature Not Verified

Digitally signed by Dr.

Judge of the High Court. However, the Division Bench of the
Mukesh Nasa
Date: 2021.11.25
19:42:17 IST

High Court issued directions in paragraphs 4 and 5 of its

order which were to the following effect:

“4, Though there does not appear to be any infirmity
in the impugned order dated 31.03.2021 in W.P. No.
15896 of 2020 upholding permission granted to the
Ninth Respondent under Section 16(1) of the Act to
enter upon the property of the Appellants to erect
the electric towers in the respective lands of the
Appellants, it would be necessary at this juncture to
refer to Section 17 of the Act, which reads as

17. Removal or alteration of telegraph line or
post, on property other than that of a local

(1) When, under the foregoing provisions of this
Act, a telegraph line or post has been placed by
the telegraph authority under, over, along,
across, in or upon any property, not being
property vested in or under the control or
management of a local authority, and any person
entitled to do so desires to deal with that
property in such a manner as to render it
necessary or convenient that the telegraph line
or post should be removed to another part
thereof or to a higher or lower level or altered
in from, he may require the telegraph authority
to remove or alter the line of post accordingly:
Provided that, if compensation has been paid
under section 10, clause (d), he shall, when
making the requisition, tender to the telegraph
authority the amount requisite to defray the
expense of the removal or alteration, or half of
the amount paid as compensation, whichever may
be the smaller sum.

(2) If the telegraph authority omits to comply
with the requisition, the person making it may
apply to the District Magistrate within whose
jurisdiction the property is situate to order
the removal or alteration.

(3) A District Magistrate receiving an
application under sub-section (2) may, in his
discretion, reject the same or make an order,
absolutely or subject to conditions, for the
removal of the telegraph line or post to any
other part of the property or to a higher or
lower level or for the alteration of its form;

and the order so made shall be final.

It is evident from the same that even after enter
upon permission has been granted under Section 16(1)
of the Act, a land owner is entitled to make an
application to the jurisdictional District Magistrate
for removing or re-locating the electric towers that
have been erected under Section 17 of the Act. Having
regard to the pragmatic considerations of cost
effectiveness and time saving measures in the larger
public interest, it would be appropriate at this
stage taking into account the aforesaid rival
submissions made by the Learned Counsel appearing for
the parties that that enquiry under section 17(2) of
the Act can be immediately conducted by the Third
Respondent to examine all the contentions that are
raised by the Appellants, including as to whether the
Ninth Respondent is an Authority entitled to invoke
section 16 of the Act, the route for locating the
electric towers, the amount of compensation payable
and the compromise said to have been entered by the
Ninth Respondent with the Appellants. In view of that
proposed enquiry, the further implementation of the
orders in Na.Ka.No.6450/2020/E5 dated 08.10.2020
passed by the Third Respondent under section 16(1) of
the Act shall be kept in abeyance and the parties
shall maintain status quo till its completion.
Depending upon its outcome, further action shall
proceed in accordance with law. Though obvious, it is
made clear that no view is expressed by this Court on
the correctness or otherwise on the rival contentions
of the parties in this regard.

5. In order to expedite the proceedings, Learned
Special Government Pleader, on instructions, states
that enquiry under section 17(2) of the Act would be
conducted at 11.00 a.m. on 21.05.2021 before the
Third Respondent and all the parties concerned
including the Appellants and the Ninth Respondent may
appear on the said date. The Appellants shall place
their objections in writing before the Third
Respondent on the said hearing and no further
extension of time shall be granted for the same. If
the Third Respondent is not in a position to take up
the matter for hearing on that date, the adjourned
date of hearing shall be informed to all parties
concerned in the prescribed manner. As it is stated
that the practice has been prevalent that parties can

be accompanied by their legal practitioner to
represent on their behalf, they may avail such
benefit. After affording full opportunity of personal
hearing to all parties concerned including the
Appellants and the Ninth Respondent and making
necessary inspection of the property through the
concerned officials, if necessary, the Third
Respondent shall deal with each of the contentions
raised by the respective parties and shall pass
reasoned orders on merits in accordance with law and
shall communicate the decision taken to them under
written acknowledgement and file a report of such
compliance before the Registrar (Judicial) of this
Court by 30.06.2021 without fail.”

In this appeal, challenging the directions so issued by

the Division Bench of the High Court, the learned counsel

appearing for the appellant made certain statements which were

recorded in the order dated 01.07.2021 passed by this Court as


“Mr. M. Ajmal Khan, learned Senior Advocate appearing
for the petitioner submits (a) the petitioner is
willing to pay 300 per cent more compensation to the
affected parties; (b) the agricultural operations of
the affected parties will not in any way be
prejudiced except to the extent of erection of poles
or posts to carry overhead wires or lines, and no
cabelling or any kind of transmission lines will be
running underground between the two poles or posts;
(c) the petitioner will have a right of way for the
purposes of maintenance and upkeep where its
personnel would reach the poles or posts only on foot
so that the agricultural operations of the affected
parties will not be put to any prejudice.”

Mr. M. Ajmal Khan, learned Senior Advocate appearing for

the appellant reiterates all the submissions which were

recorded in the order dated 01.07.2021 and has now gone to the

extent of submitting that the appellant would pay 500 per cent

more compensation to the affected parties. Statement is

recorded. The appellant shall be bound by the statements made

on its behalf by its learned counsel.

Mr. V. Raghavachari, learned Advocate appearing for the

respondents/original writ petitioners submits that considering

the offer made by the learned counsel for the appellant, the

matter be disposed of leaving all questions of law open to be

decided in appropriate matters.

While allowing this appeal and setting-aside the order

passed by the Division Bench of the High Court, we direct as


a) The submissions recorded by this Court in its

order dated 01.07.2021 shall be binding on the

appellant, subject to the modification that

instead of “300 per cent more compensation”, the

appellant shall pay “500 per cent more

compensation” to the affected parties.

b) Let the issue of compensation be determined by

the concerned authority in accordance with law.

c) The concerned authority (14th respondent) shall

do well to dispose of the matter in that behalf

as early as possible and preferably within two

months from today.

d) As and when such compensation is determined, the

appellant shall pay 500 per cent more

compensation to the affected parties within six


e) The other undertakings recorded in the form of

submissions recorded (b) and (c) in the order

dated 01.07.2021 shall be scrupulously observed.

With these observations, the appeal stands allowed, the

order passed by the Division Bench of the High Court is set-

aside and that passed by the Single Judge, subject to the

aforesaid modification, stands restored. There will be no

order as to costs.


New Delhi,
November 18, 2021


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