Sundew Properties Limited vs Telangana State Electricity Regulatory Commission 2024 INSC 439 – Electricity Act

Electricity Act, 2003; Section 14- Andhra Pradesh Electricity Regulatory Commission (Distribution Licence) Regulations, 2013- Whether the designation of an entity as a SEZ developer by the MoCI ipso facto qualifies the entity to be a deemed distribution licensee, obviating the need for an application under section 14 of the Electricity Act?- Being a SEZ developer in terms of the 2010 Notification does not ipso facto confer upon the appellant the status of a deemed licensee without any scrutiny and without being under any requirement to apply; it is required to make an application in accordance with the 2013 Regulations Whether regulation 12 of the 2013 Regulations, and by implication rule 3(2) of the 2005 Rules, are applicable to a SEZ developer recognised as a deemed distribution licensee under the proviso to section 14(b) of the Electricity Act read with regulation 13 of the 2013 Regulations?- he condition stipulated in rule 3(2) of the 2005 Rules, as imposed by the TSERC with a direction to infuse an additional capital of Rs. 26.90 crore is not justified and contrary to the statutory scheme. (Para 37)

Interpretation of Statutes- Reading down and reading up – Reading down refers to the practice of interpreting a statute narrowly, limiting its scope or application to specific situations or individuals. This approach is commonly employed when the language of a statute is ambiguous or when there is a need to avoid potential conflicts with other laws or constitutional provisions. For example, if a law is unclear about whether it applies to certain types of businesses, a court may choose to read down the statute to only include those businesses explicitly mentioned in the text -Reading up involves interpreting a statute broadly, extending its scope or application beyond what is expressly stated in the text. Reading up is a concept that is invoked with great caution within our legal framework because it can lead to judicial activism or judicial overreach, where courts expand the reach of laws beyond what the legislature intended. (Para 30) – The practice of reading up a provision can only be justified when it aligns with legislative intent, maintains the fundamental character of the law, and ensures that the resulting interpretation remains consistent with the original context to which the law applies. This holds especially true for subordinate legislation, which require greater scrutiny in this regard. Reading up a provision of subordinate legislation in a manner that it militates against the primary legislation is not permissible. (Para 32)

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