Difference between revisions of "M.D., M/S. RAMAKRISHNA POULTRY P. LTD V R.CHELLAPPAN"

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Court Supreme Court of India Decided On May-08-2009 Case Number Civil Appeal No. 3413 of 2009 (Arising out of SLP (C) No. 24713/2008) Judge Altamas Kabir and;Cyriac Joseph Reported in JT2009(9)SC169; 2009(7)SCALE157 Appellant M.D., Ramakrishna Poultry P. Ltd. Respondent R. Chellappan and ors. Appellant Advocate S. Ganesh, Sr. Adv.,; Prasanth P.,; V. Vasudevan and; Respondent Advocate Parag Tripathi, ; A.T.M. Ranga Ramanujam, Sr. Advs., ; V. Pr Disposition Appeal allowed Cases Referred Kunnippa v. The District Magistrate and District Collector Prior history From the Judgment and Order dated 29.08.2008 of the High Court of Madras, Madurai Bench in W.A. (MD) No. 522 of 2008

  FACTS OF THE CASE The appellant is a Private Limited Company engaged in the business of poultry farming which is confined to the production of eggs. It has constructed three separate sheds on Survey Nos.242/2 and 249/3 in Nanniyur Pudur Village in Karur District in the State of Tamil Nadu for accommodating about 1.25 lakh layer birds. It is the case of the appellant that it had invested a sum of about Rs.6 crores in acquiring the lands, erecting the sheds thereupon and acquiring the birds for the purpose of starting the poultry farm. the lands on which the poultry farm was started by the appellant, had been acquired in two stages. About 11 acres of land were acquired by the appellant-Company on 23rd June, 2004 and about 4 acres were acquired on 19th November, 2004. At about the same time, the 3rd respondent, The Power Grid Corporation of India Ltd. (hereinafter referred to as `the Corporation') took up the work of construction of a 400 KV Perambalur Pugalur D/C Line as part of the Neyveli Thermal Station Expansion Project for evacuation of electricity generated therein. In the process, transmission towers were required to be installed in various locations, some of which were private lands, including the Patta lands of the appellant, where its poultry farm is situated.

. On 8th October, 2006, the appellant sought an opinion from the Assistant Director, Department of Animal Husbandry, regarding the effect on the layer birds on account of emission of electro magnetic fields from the High Voltage Transmission Lines passing over the poultry sheds. According to the said authority, the passing of High Voltage Electricity Current Transmission Wires over the poultry sheds would adversely affect the performance and health of the birds in the long run.

The appellant thereupon filed Writ Petition No.6850/06 before the High Court, seeking a re-alignment of the transmission lines so that either the appellant's poultry sheds could be avoided or the height of the tower/pylon could be raised.

Relying on an earlier order dated 18th January, 2007, passed by a learned Single Judge of the Madras High court in Writ Petition No.49172/06, the learned Single Judge of the Madras High Court by his judgment and order dated 31st January, 2007, disposed of the said Writ Petition, along with other connected writ petitions, with liberty to the writ petitioners to submit their objections, if any, to the District Magistrate concerned, within a period of two weeks from the date of the order. The District Magistrate was directed to consider the same in the light of the order passed by the Court and pass an order on merits and in accordance with law, after affording an opportunity to the petitioners, as well as the respondents, to make out their respective cases, within a period of six weeks thereafter.

Pursuant to the aforesaid order, the District Magistrate issued notice to the appellant and the Corporation to file objections, if any. The appellant filed its objections indicating the damage that would be caused to the poultry farm, if the transmission line was not shifted to avoid the poultry sheds. The appellant asked for a small deviation of the route of the power line in the eastward direction, within his lands, so that minimum damage was effected to the poultry farm. On the other hand, the Corporation submitted that no deviation of the transmission line from the approved route of alignment was feasible. After a spot inspection, the District Magistrate upon being satisfied as to the damage that was likely to be caused to the appellant's poultry farm, was of the view that a slight shift in the alignment of the power line from location No.145 to location No.144, either westward or eastward, might not cause extensive damage to the coconut trees or the temple indicated by the respondents, while, at the same time, it would not affect the health of the birds in the poultry farm. Accordingly, by his order dated 30th April, 2007, passed under Section 17(3) of the Indian Telegraph Act, 1885 (hereinafter referred to as the `Telegraph Act'), the District Magistrate directed the Corporation to realign the transmission power line in such a way that it did not pass above the poultry sheds of the appellant.

Inasmuch as, the proposed realignment entailed that the transmission lines would pass over a portion of the adjacent plot belonging to the first respondent, R. Chellappan, he challenged the said order of the District Magistrate in Writ Petition No.10259/07 on 19th November, 2007, and the same was dismissed upon holding that the order of the District Magistrate did not suffer from any infirmity or arbitrariness. Aggrieved by the order of the learned Single Judge, the first respondent filed Writ Appeal No.522/08 which was allowed by the Division Bench on consideration of the provisions of Section 16 of the Telegraph Act and holding that under the said provisions, the District Collector had no power to direct change of alignment.

Aggrieved by the said order, the appellant has filed the present appeal.

JUDGEMENT

The court decided to set aside the order of the Division Bench of the Madras High Court impugned in this appeal and direct the Power Grid Corporation to increase the clearance indicated above from 52 meters to 56 meters so that the clearance between the lowest point of the sag of the cable and the top most portion of the poultry shed is not less than 40 ft.The Appellant-Company will be entitled to such compensation to which it may be entitled for use of its lands or the damage caused thereto on account of the erection of the tower/pylon for carrying the transmission lines over the appellant's plant, in accordance with the provisions of section 10 (d) of the Indian Telegraph Act, 1885.The appeal was accordingly allowed to the extent indicated hereinabove.