Mullaperiyar Dam: State Govt Files Review Petition in SC

Advocate Mohan Katarki confirmed to Express that the petition has been filed. It is now up to the Judges as to whether to hear the petition in the open court or pass orders in the chamber.

Published: 01st July 2014 09:40 AM  |   Last Updated: 01st July 2014 09:40 AM   |  A+A-

NEW DELHI: The Kerala Government on Monday filed a review petition before the Supreme Court seeking review of the May 7 verdict that had declared Kerala’s Dam Safety Act as unconstitutional and allowing Tamil Nadu to raise the water level of the Mullaperiyar dam.

Advocate Mohan Katarki confirmed to Express that the petition has been filed. It is now up to the Judges as to whether to hear the petition in the open court or pass orders in the chamber.

In the review petition, Kerala government stated: “it is respectfully submitted that 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 Federation was not established under Section 5 which is which is sine qua non for devolution under Section 177.”

“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,” the petition reads. During arguments in the case, Tamil Nadu had told the SC that it is their legitimate right to claim water from the Mullaperiyar dam.

While considering the case, the five-judge Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court had asked how Tamil Nadu stepped into the shoes of the lessee in the issue, as the 1886 agreement was signed between Travancore state and the Government of India. A bench headed by Chief Justice R M Lodha quashed the amendments to the Kerala Conservation and Irrigation Act brought in by the Kerala Government in 2006 to restrict the water level to 136 feet. The Mullaperiyar dam site is in Kerala, but the reservoir mainly serves Tamil Nadu. The dam was constructed in 1886 during British rule but was washed away, after which a new structure was built in 1895.

Kerala wanted the structure to be demolished, while neighbouring Tamil Nadu had fiercely opposed the move. Kerala advocated for the construction of a new dam to banish prevailing fears of an impending disaster in the event of the dam’s collapse. However, the Tamil Nadu state government had been opposing the move of decommissioning the dam saying its walls had already been fortified and hence it did not pose any threat.

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