The Supreme Court Wednesday proposed to set up a committee of three of its former judges to look into the aspects of compensation and rehabilitation for the oustees of Sardar Sarovar Project (SSP) on river Narmada in three states of Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Gujarat. A bench headed by Chief Justice J S Khehar said that the committee will have Justices (retd) V S Sirpurkar, K S Radhakrishnan and C Nagappan as its members and asked Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi to ask for their consent. The bench, also comprising justices N V Ramana and D Y Chandrachud, said the decision of the committee will not be disputed as the proposed names of these judges have been given and consented to by the parties.
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At the outset of the hearing, Rohatgi told the bench that committee should comprise of former judges of the apex court and there should not be any bureaucrats or NGOs in it. The apex court had earlier said that to ensure “better deal” for the project-affected families, it is willing to “twist” the arms of the executive and had asked the Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA) and states — Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat and Maharashtra — to suggest names of experts who could be appointed in the committee which would deal with the issue of resettlement and rehabilitation of the oustees.
The court had made it clear to the parties, including activist Medha Patekar-led NBA, that it would not allow stalling of the project. The issue of compensation will cover 193 villages in Madhya Pradesh, 33 in Maharashtra and 19 in Gujarat. The apex court is hearing the petitions pertaining to rehabilitation of oustees of the project.