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Shakespeare's Play Finds Mention As Karnataka HC Upholds Govt Order On Wind Energy Project

Mustafa Plumber
26 Sep 2022 1:41 PM GMT
Shakespeares Play Finds Mention As Karnataka HC Upholds Govt Order On Wind Energy Project
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The Karnataka High Court has refused interference in petitions seeking to invalidate Government Order enhancing the capacity of its Wind Energy Project and allotting the same to one Ayana Limited.Justice Krishna S Dixit observed that so long as State acts fairly in matters of State Largesse without compromising public interest, its decision cannot be interfered with merely citing...

The Karnataka High Court has refused interference in petitions seeking to invalidate Government Order enhancing the capacity of its Wind Energy Project and allotting the same to one Ayana Limited.

Justice Krishna S Dixit observed that so long as State acts fairly in matters of State Largesse without compromising public interest, its decision cannot be interfered with merely citing "arguable" procedural infirmities.

While holding thus, the bench made it clear that grievances, if any, need to be balanced and cannot be worked out by clever arguments.
It recalled a scene from Shakespeare's play 'Merchant of Venice' to state that redressal to the grievances cannot be worked out by razor sharpness of 'Portia's Knife'.

In the play, Shylock, a moneylender, granted loan to Antonio, a ship merchant. Failure to repay the loan was to be compensated by a pound of Antonio's flesh.

When the matter reached trial and Shylock insisted to take a pound of flesh, Portia (wife of Antonio's friend and an accomplished lawyer) said that while the contract entitles Shylock to a pound of flesh, it does not allow for any loss of blood.

"Shed thou no blood, nor cut thou less nor more, but just a pound of flesh."

Finding himself in an impossible situation, Shylock let Antonio off the hook.

Referring to this scene, the High Court observed,
"In any nascent power project like this, there has to be some give and take amongst the competitors in the field of business, as of necessity and therefore, redressal to the grievances cannot be worked out by razor sharpness of 'Portia's Knife' in Merchant of Venice..."

The Petitioner-companies, also involved in the business of Wind Energy, had opposed allotment of 44 acres land to Ayana Limited. The Court observed that the petitioners whose claims have not yet become concrete, cannot seek to stick on to a particular piece of earth, especially when they can be accommodated in any other piece of land in the vast 6,500 acres of project area.

It added that at present, development and transition to renewable modes of energy are categorically imperative and thus, all efforts must be made to aid the process of this transition, especially in light of "crippling climate crisis" being faced nationally and internationally.

It observed,
"What one cannot lose sight of is: the Government & its authorities have been exploring the tapping potential of non-conventional/renewable energy resources like wind power, more particularly by engaging 10 private agencies who are in a position to avail the latest science & technology, to fructify the same. It needs no research to show that our society is starving of electrical power which is the lifeblood of any business & industry, and which also generate abundant employment opportunities. Invalidation of the impugned order on the pleaded grounds that are not much substantiated would dampen the spirit of large – scale investors and their entrepreneurship."

The court also accepted contention of Ayana Limited that it has obtained the Letter of Award dated 19.03.2021 being the successful bidder in the tender called for by the Solar Energy Corporation Limited. Further, it has entered into Power Purchase Agreements and Power Transmission Agreements as well in September 2021. In furtherance thereof, it has also furnished a Bank Guarantee.

The bench said that if challenge to the impugned order is allowed, enormous prejudice would be caused to Ayana Limited.

Following which it disposed of the petitions questioning the government order and directed the the government for issuing Facilitation Letter in furtherance of Allotment Committee in favour of one of the Petitioners, SJP Builders & Developers Pvt Ltd, subject to it complying with all requisites including the payment of fees prescribed thereof.

Case Title : SRK ENERGY PRIVATE LIMITED v THE STATE OF KARNATAKA and ors and connected matters

Citation: 2022 LiveLaw (Kar) 376 

Click Here To Read/Download Order

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