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Hindustan Zinc Ltd. v. Rajasthan Electricity Regulatory Commission

Jurisdiction: Supreme Court of India

Principle law(s): National Electricity Policy,Tariff Policy 2006,Electricity Act 2003

Side A: Hindustan Zinc Ltd. (Corporation)

Side B: Rajasthan Electricity Regulatory Commission (Government)

Core objectives: Promoting renewable sources of energy (‘green power’) and strengthening renewable energy market.

On 31st August 2012, the High Court of Rajasthan passed a judgment wherein the companies having captive generation power plants were ordered to purchase minimum energy from renewable sources. The Rajasthan Electricity Regulatory Commission (Renewable Energy Obligation) Regulations, 2007 and Rajasthan Electricity Regulatory Commission (Renewable Energy Certificate and Renewable Purchase Obligation Compliance Framework) Regulations 2010 imposed Renewable Energy obligation (RE obligation) on the captive generation entities to purchase minimum energy from renewable sources and to pay a surcharge in case of shortfall in meeting the RE obligation. 

Aggrieved by the judgment, in 2013 the captive generation companies filed an appeal before the Supreme Court. The companies contended that they have established their own captive generation power plants in terms of the Electricity Act, 2003. The purpose of the Electricity Act 2003 is to encourage participation of private sectors involved in generation of electricity and with that objective, generation of electricity was de-licensed and captive generation was freely promoted. It liberalized the establishment of captive power plants and exempted them from any licensing and regulatory regime. 

Further, the National Electricity Policy, 2005 and the Tariff Policy, 2006 were framed to promote production and utilization of energy to the maximum extent in respect of the captive generation plants. It was not intended to compulsorily force these companies to lower their production of energy by making them purchase renewable energy. Consequently, the 2007 and 2010 Regulations violative the basic object and purpose of the Electricity Act 2003. 

The moot issue in this case relates to whether the aggrieved captive power plant companies are covered by the 2007 and 2010 regulations that mandate green power purchase. On 13 May 2015, the Supreme Court of India upheld the validity of the 2007 and 2010 Regulations with respect to the renewable energy purchase obligation. The court approved the promotion and co-generation of electricity from renewable source of energy by employing constitutional mandates that focus on larger public interest and clean environment. The State and its instrumentalities are under a duty to protect the environment in order to ensure that the citizens/residents of the area lead a healthy life. This is the laudable object of the State and to achieve the same it has framed the respective electricity policies and regulations. Accordingly the Supreme Court observed “the National Action Plan on Climate Change and Preamble of the Act of 2003 emphasises promotion of efficient and environmentally benign policies to encourage generation and consumption of green energy to sub-serve the mandate of Article 21 read with Article 48A of the Directive Principles of the State Policy and Article 51A(g) of the Fundamental Duties enlisted under Chapter IVA of the Constitution of India. Further, the said Regulations are consistent with the International obligations of India, as India has ratified to the Kyoto Protocol.”

Case documents

Related laws and policies
  • IND flag This law implements India legislation
    National Electricity Policy

    Passed in 2005 Executive

    Among other goals, this policy stressed the need for the promotion of non-conventional energy sources. The policy noted the need to reduce the capital cost of projects based on non-conventional and renewable sources of energy; stressed the importance of promoting competition among renewables pro...

  • IND flag This law implements India legislation
    Tariff Policy 2006

    Passed in 2006 Executive

    In January 2006, the Ministry of Power announced the Tariff Policy, in continuation of the National Electricity Policy of 2005. The Tariff Policy included certain provisions regarding renewable energy and cogeneration.  Under the Electricity Act 2003 and the National Tariff Policy 2006, the centr...

  • IND flag This law implements India legislation
    Electricity Act 2003

    Passed in 2003 Legislative

    The Electricity Act 2003 sought to better co-ordinate development of the power sector in India, providing a comprehensive framework for power development. Objectives include: consoli-dating laws relating to generation, transmission, distribution, trading and the use of electricity; promoting comp...

from the Grantham Research Institute
from the Grantham Research Institute
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