The Supreme Court Friday rejected the Kerala government’s plea to bring on record new data to counter an expert’s committee report that the Mullaperiyar Dam structure was safe.
An apex court constitution bench of Justice D.K. Jain, Justice R.M. Lodha, Justice H.L. Dattu, Justice C.K. Prasad and Justice Anil R. Dave while disallowing Kerala’s plea, said this would make it an endless exercise.
“It becomes an endless process. This is not an exercise done by an ad hoc committee sitting in a drawing room,” said Justice R.M. Lodha.
He further said the members of the expert committee visited the Mullaperiyar Dam site and a former chief justice of India had represented Kerala.
“The material (committee report) that is already there running into thousands of pages, if that is not sufficient…”, the court asked senior counsel V. Giri appearing for Kerala.
“The committee had your nominee and experts from both sides. Tomorrow you will say to call experts from the UK, Spain or Japan. We cannot permit this.”
“It could be that the expert committee data may not be perfect. But the issue of data could be reopened as things cannot move that way,” the court said.
Opposing the plea by the Kerala government, Additional Advocate General Guru Krishna Kumar told the court that they had already made detailed submission before the expert committee on the basis of the material they have.
While directing the matter to be listed Nov 5, the court permitted both Kerala and Tamil Nadu to exchange their responses to the Justice Anand committee report on the basis of documents already on record.
The court barred both the states from bringing on record any new material.
The Justice Anand committee, set up in February 2010, was mandated to study all aspects of the 119-year-old dam including its safety. The committee submitted its report to the apex court in April.
Both Tamil Nadu and Kerala are at loggerhead over the dam. Kerala had in 2010 had advocated dismantling of the dam, holding that its structure was not safe, while Tamil Nadu opposed it.
The Tamil Nadu government is managing the dam ever since its inception. Tamil Nadu, while holding that there was no threat to the structure of the dam, is seeking to increase its water level from the existing 132 ft. to 136 ft.
It was to resolve this imbroglio between Kerala and Tamil Nadu that the Justice Anand committee was set up to go into the safety aspect of the dam.