Mullaperiyar dam: SC dismissed Kerala govt’s plea

Wednesday, Dec 3, 2014,20:25 IST By metrovaartha A A A

New Delhi | The Supreme Court has dismissed the Kerala government’s plea to review its May 7 verdict holding as safe the 120-year-old Mullaperiyar dam and allowing Tamil Nadu to raise water level to 142 feet and ultimately to 152 feet after completion of strengthening measures on the dam.
The apex court also rejected the plea for giving open court hearing and said there was no reason to interfere with the judgement of its five-judge Constitution Bench. Application for hearing in open court is rejected. We have gone through the review petition and the connected papers. We see no reason to interfere with the order impugned.
The review petition is, accordingly, dismissed, said a five- judge bench comprising Chief Justice H L Dattu and Justices J Chelameswar, M B Lokur, M Y Eqbal and C Nagappan. The five-judge Constitution Bench headed by then Chief Justice R M Lodha had on May 7 passed it verdict striking down a law promulgated by the Kerala government declaring Mullaperiyar dam as endangered and fixing the water level at 136 feet.
The apex court had also pulled up the Kerala government for enacting a law which overruled its verdict of 2006 by which it had declared the dam safe and allowed Tamil Nadu authorities to raise the water level. In its review petition, the Kerala Government had said, Section 177 did not apply because neither the Federation of India was established as contemplated under section 5 nor the Indian State (Princely State) of Travancore executed any accession under the provisions of section 6 of the Act of 1935.
The error is due to erroneous assumption of the fact that the Federation of India was established and consequently, contracts of secretary of State devolved on Madras province under section 177, it said. Mullaperiyar dam is a masonry dam and was constructed pursuant to the Periyar Lake Lease Agreement of October 29, 1886 across Periyar river.
The construction continued for about eight years and was completed in 1895. The dam is situated in Thekkady district in Kerala and is owned and operated by the Tamil Nadu government. The length of the main dam is 1200 feet and top of the dam is 155 feet.