The Supreme Court on Tuesday sought the response of the Centre to the plea of the Tamil Nadu government for deployment of Central Industrial Security Force personnel for protection of the Mullaperiyar dam, following incidents of damage caused to the gate by miscreants.

A five-judge Constitution Bench comprising Justices D.K. Jain, R.M. Lodha, C.K. Prasad, Deepak erma and Anil R. Dave also asked Kerala to file its response to the Tamil Nadu application and posted the matter for further hearing on December 15.

Earlier, when senior counsel P.P. Rao, appearing for Kerala, insisted that the Bench pass an order on the State's application to reduce the water level of the dam from 136 to 120 feet, the bench made it clear that no order could be passed now.

When Justice Jain said the court would dismiss the application, Mr. Rao said the State would not press the plea and it was disposed of as not pressed. The Bench recorded the submission of Mr. Rao that the State was withdrawing the application with liberty to file an appropriate application before the empowered committee.

On Tamil Nadu's plea for CISF deployment, Justice Jain wanted to know from Additional Solicitor-General Harin Raval the stand of the Centre. Justice Jain drew his attention to the fact that Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa wrote a letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in this regard on December 4 and asked if he had any instructions on this issue. The ASG said he would take instructions. However, he said Kerala had taken all precautions to ensure safety of the dam.

When senior counsel Raju Ramachandran and Additional Advocate-General for Tamil Nadu referred to the application about statements made by high functionaries in Kerala creating fear psychosis, Justice Jain said: “How can we pass a gag order against them? If somebody has a right to protest, let them protest.”

Justice Jain and Justice Lodha expressed their displeasure over an advertisement issued by Tamil Nadu in newspapers. Justice Jain told the counsel “you [Tamil Nadu] are issuing an advertisement about the oral observations made by us in the court. In a sense you are using our side also for your appeal. You are asking others, don't make statements and you want us to pass a gag order against Kerala. This is unfair. Can we not ask why our observations are included in the advertisement in making the appeal?”

Justice Lodha said: “Court proceedings should not be used for political gains. Observations are in a sense a decision-making process, they are not final decisions. If the State issues an advertisement on the basis of our observations, it is not proper, particularly when the matter is sub judice. These things are unnecessary. We feel you are precipitating the matter when the overall situation is not so grave and nothing substantial has changed. Safety of the people is of paramount importance and it can't be compromised. Both sides should not incite passions.”

The Tamil Nadu application was dismissed and the Bench posted the matter for further hearing on December 15.

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