The much-awaited final hearing on the suit filed by Tamil Nadu government questioning the validity of Kerala government’s 2006 legislation restricting Tamil Nadu from raising the water level from 136 feet, begins before a Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court on Tuesday.
During the final arguments, the Tamil Nadu government will rely on the findings of the Empowered Committee headed by former Chief Justice of Supreme Court AS Anand that Mullaiperiyar dam is safe structurally, seismically and hydrologically and that water level can be raised to 142 feet immediately.
The committee, which was set up in February 2010, had submitted its findings in April 2012, based on the reports, studies and investigations conducted by various agencies constituted to go into the safety aspects.
Sources said Tamil Nadu would argue for raising the water level to 142 feet immediately and for declaring Kerala’s 2006 amendment to the Irrigation Act of 2003 as unconstitutional.
PWD Secretary M Saikumar is in Delhi to brief the counsels. The Cauvery Technical Cell Chairman has been camping in Delhi since last week.
The sources denied as wrong, the contention of Kerala that Chapter VIII of the Empowered Committee had expressed uncertainty over dam safety. The seven chapters of the committee contain its findings while the eighth one contain only recommendations for the maintenance of the dam in future. The Committee had clearly stated that the dam — situated in Kerala, but maintained by Tamil Nadu — is structurally, seismically and hydrologically safe.
A five-Judge Constitution Bench comprising Justice RM Lodha, HL Dattu, CK Prasad, Madan B Lokur and MY Eqbal, on April 9, 2013, adjourned the case till July 23 for final hearing after submissions from counsels of Tamil Nadu and Kerala.