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Updated: November 14, 2009 12:42 IST

Supreme Court order on Mullaperiyar dam regrettable: Karunanidhi

T. Ramakrishnan
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Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi.
The Hindu Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi.

"Can a legal amendment be made to nullify an order of the Supreme Court on an inter-State issue? Is that acceptable?", he asked.

Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi on Friday expressed regret over the Supreme Court’s decision of referring the Mullaperiyar dam issue to a five-member Constitution Bench.

“It was in December 1998 that we approached, for the first time, the Supreme Court on the Mullaperiyar issue. After 11 years, when Tamil Nadu was expecting to secure justice, the decision that there would be one more enquiry to be heard by five Judges and wondering how long it would take, one cannot help feeling sad. We do not know to whom we should represent to see to it that the adage ‘justice delayed, justice denied’ does not come true,” Mr. Karunanidhi said in a statement.

[On Tuesday, the Court referred to the Bench a suit filed by the Tamil Nadu government questioning a law enacted by Kerala to prevent rising water level in the Mullaperiyar dam beyond 136 ft. as against 142 ft. allowed by the Supreme Court judgment of February 2006]

Raising a host of doubts in light of the Court’s action, he wondered: “Can a legal amendment be made to nullify an order of the Supreme Court on an inter-State issue? Is that acceptable? What will happen to the country if one State after the other, through legislature, goes on enacting laws in the event of the Court orders not being favourable to such States?”

He also asked about the fate of the Court judgement of February 2006. The Chief Minister hastened to add that this was not against the Court’s decision. Be it the Supreme Court or any other court, he did not have the practice of giving views against judicial orders. “I do not have the courage that the Kerala Chief Minister has in enacting a legal amendment to ensure that the Supreme Court’s order cannot be implemented.”

On the recent submission of Kerala’s counsel in the Court that a dispute between two States could be adjudicated only under Article 131, not under Article 32 as done in the case of the Supreme Court judgement in February 2006, Mr. Karunanidhi said that Kerala did not raise this point when it filed a review petition in April 2006. Kerala’s counsel had raised the question ‘suddenly,’ three years after the judgement.


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