Date for final hearing in Mullaperiyar case to be decided on November 5

The Supreme Court has indicated to Tamil Nadu and Kerala that it will decide on November 5 the date for final hearing in the Mullaperiyar case.

On Friday, the five-judge Constitution Bench of Justices D.K. Jain, R.M. Lodha, H.L. Dattu, C.K. Prasad, and Anil R. Dave made it clear to senior counsel V. Giri, appearing for Kerala, that it would not accept any new documents or data on the dam.

The Bench is hearing a suit filed by Tamil Nadu questioning the law enacted by Kerala in 2006 to restrict the water level in the Mullaperiyar dam at 136 ft though the Supreme Court had permitted Tamil Nadu to raise the water level to 142 ft.

Earlier, Mr. Giri wanted the court to allow Kerala to file its response to a report of the empowered committee as it had relied on its own empirical data and material, rather than the material and evidence submitted by both the States, in arriving at its conclusion.

Justice Lodha told the counsel that “the committee headed by a former Chief Justice of India with retired Supreme Court judges representing both the States may have its own views and cannot be faulted for it. We will not accept any new material or data. How do you expect the matters to come to an end? Otherwise it will be an unending process. Tomorrow you will say you will call experts from England, Spain or Japan. We can’t permit this. It is an expert committee and not an ad-hoc mechanism. It is a high-powered committee. A body constituted of top level experts.”

When Mr. Giri insisted on filing a response to the committee’s report, the Bench said “the two States can exchange written submissions but no new documents or data can be permitted.”

Additional Advocate General Guru Krishna Kumar, appearing for Tamil Nadu, pleaded with the court for expediting the hearing. However, the Bench told the counsel that it would post the matter for further directions on November 5, when the date for final hearing would be finalised.