The Supreme Court on Friday indicated that it would appoint an expert to inspect the Polavaram dam to ascertain whether it was being constructed in terms of the Godavari Tribunal Award.
A Bench of Justices Mukundakam Sharma and Anil R. Dave asked Additional Solicitor-General Harin P. Raval to take instructions on this proposal and inform the court on April 4.
The Bench was hearing an application filed by the Orissa Government in its suit seeking stay of operation of the approval granted by the Ministry of Environment and Forests to Polavaram project and for a direction to maintain status quo in its execution.
During the last hearing on March 3, the Bench had directed the parties to obtain instructions whether any expert or competent organisation could be associated with Central Water Commission to make an inspection of the dam in order to ascertain whether the construction of the dam is being carried out in terms of the award passed by the Godavari Tribunal.” During the resumed hearing on Friday senior counsel for Orissa government, Raju Ramachandran submitted that Orissa was agreeable for an independent expert being appointed to inspect the dam. He gave three names—former Chairman of CWC, Anil D. Mohile; Prof. M. Perumal, IIT, Roorkee and Prof. A.K. Gosain, IIT, Delhi.
The ASG Mr. Raval opposed appointment of an expert stating that since CWC was a statutory body, there was no need for any outside expert as the question of institutional integrity was involved. Senior counsel T.R. Andhyarujina for Maharashtra said the entire matter should be left to the CWC and there was no need for an outside expert to go into the issue.
Justice Sharma told Mr. Raval “it is only a question of ego. We are not demeaning the CWC. We want another person to go and inspect the dam, what is wrong in it. Why should you object to it? Let the CWC submit its report and the expert submit his report, which may even fortify your opinion.”
The Bench posted the matter for further hearing on April 4.