SC quashes Kerala law restricting water level in Mullaperiyar dam

The SC held that the 2006 law framed by Kerala was unconstitutional since it interfered with the judicial functions.

Written by Utkarsh Anand | New Delhi | Updated: May 7, 2014 3:11 pm
The admissions in nursery was stalled in the city by the SC on April 11 after some parents challenged the February 27 notification, scrapping the IST quota. The admissions in nursery was stalled in the city by the SC on April 11 after some parents challenged the February 27 notification, scrapping the IST quota.

In a major victory for Tamil Nadu, the Supreme Court on Wednesday quashed the law enacted by the Kerala government to restrict the water level in the Mullaperiyar dam.

A five-judge Constitution bench led by Chief Justice R M Lodha held that the 2006 law framed by Kerala was unconstitutional since it interfered with the judicial functions and violated the doctrine of separation of power. The SC had in 2006 allowed raising the water level of the dam, prompting Kerala to come up with a new law.

The bench said that the water level must be increased from 136 ft to 142 ft to redress grievances of Tamlaght Nadu.

The bench also allowed Tamil Nadu to carry out necessary repair works in the dam.

It set up a supervisory committee, to be headed by a representative from the Cental Water Commission and one member each from the two states. The committee shall oversee the repair works and will also take all requisite safety measures.

The bench was hearing a suit filed by Tamil Nadu government questioning the law enacted by Kerala in 2006 constituting the Dam Safety Authority to prevent the former state from raising the water level in the Mullaperiyar dam from 136 ft to 142 ft.

Tamil Nadu challenged the jurisdiction of Kerala to restrict the water level in the dam on the Periyar river.

It had also countered Kerala’s claim that Periyar was an intra-state river. Tamil Nadu had cited a 1950 report signed by the then Kerala state irrigation minister V R Krishna Iyer (who later became an SC judge) recording that Periyar was an inter-state river since drainage area lay in Madras.

Backing the conclusions of the SC appointed empowered committee, Tamil Nadu also said there was enough evidence to show that the dam was structurally, hydrologically and seismically safe for raising the water level.

The bench in 2010 had appointed an empowered committee, headed by former Chief Justice of India A S Anand, to go into the safety aspects and a report was submitted in April 2012.

According to Tamil Nadu, people living in the drought- prone districts of Vaigai basin were put to sufferings which could be addressed by raising the level at least up to 142 ft. Further the reduction in storage had affected the generation of hydro-electric power from the water that could be diverted to Tamil Nadu for irrigation.

On the other hand, Kerala had asserted its right to enact a law regulating the safety of dams in the state, insisting that the river rises and falls in Kerala which is why it is an intra-state issue. Kerala has defended the “Dam Safety Act” before the constitution bench and opposed Tamil Nadu’s claim over the river on which the dam is built.




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  1. A
    May 7, 2014 at 8:40 am
    This verdict is UNACCEPTABLE to the people of Kerala .Punch into Google search-MULLAPERIYAR DAM BIGGEST DISASTER IN THE HISTORY OF THE PLANETAWAITING VADAKAYIL .Capt ajit vadakayil..
  2. Y
    May 7, 2014 at 5:04 pm
    At the cost of the life of 4 million? Is irrigation more important that 4 million lives?
  3. B
    May 7, 2014 at 6:28 pm
    Seems like all are waiting for the dam to explode. This is what happens when a nation so corrupt has to take a biased decision and juggle with the life of 4 million people residing near to this dam.
  4. P
    May 8, 2014 at 3:21 am
    but experts have verified the stability of the dam to be in good order and additional reinforcement has been done...Supreme court don't give such orders without due consideration to technical details..front of law, 4 million or 50 million, life is the same...
  5. P
    May 7, 2014 at 6:05 pm
    Tamil nadu has permanently closed the permanent supply of water,because there willnot be any dam after this.Kerala can utilise the dam construction cost of 500-1000crores for rehabilitation of family living down stream of dam. A day will come ,the dam will not last for ever,at that time TN will beg.They fools do not know how many years it will take to construct a dam even if kerala agrees.ha ha that too in kerala the country of strike.Even if supreme court give orders to construct there are so many ways to topple it
  6. M
    Manu Krishnan
    May 7, 2014 at 11:42 am
    *sarcasm* life hood and life !!
  7. R
    May 7, 2014 at 4:04 pm
    So what if we rebuild the dam ? 50 million lose their livelihood?
  8. P
    Prem Mahesh
    May 8, 2014 at 5:02 am
    this is injustice , people of kerala should stand up against this move. a treaty signed between princely state and colonial master for 999 years vaild even under federal democratic union!people of kerala became part of the India union to be equals, not to be treated as serfs of any one. they didnot even consider the threat that dam to the people
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