The DMK has moved the Madras High Court challenging the newly introduced Dam Safety Act.
DMK MP and senior advocate P Wilson made a mention before the first bench, headed by Acting Chief Justice M N Bhandari, which agreed to hear the public interest petition on Monday i.e. January 10.
The petition, preferred by DMK Mayiladuthurai MP S Ramalingan, sought to declare the Act (Act No. 41 of 2021) which was notified in the gazette on December 14, 2021, as null and void.
Wilson contended that the impugned Act, hit by Article 246(3), is ex-facie unconstitutional and ultra vires the Constitution as Parliament lacked legislative competence to enact the same. The Parliament has no legislative competence to legislate the Act which is in the State’s domain.
The Act has the effect of taking control over all major dams in the State. The Union government is taking steps to constitute National Committee on Dam Safety and National Dam Safety Authority, whereupon the States will be completely denuded with the control over dams located inside and outside the States covered under the Act.
The pith and substance of the Act is that the legislation aims to interfere and regulate the entire functioning of dams including its safety.
The Act not only shifted control over the dam to the Union but also usurped control over water supply through the dams within the State of Tamil Nadu for various purposes. The Supreme Court had clearly held that water is the basic need for survival and is a part of the right to life under Article 21. Thus, the impugned Act has the effect of impinging upon the right to survival and existence and therefore liable to be struck down, Wilson further contended.