SC rejects Kerala plea to review Mullaperiyar verdict

In a major setback to Kerala, the Supreme Court has reaffirmed the >May 7, 2014 verdict allowing Tamil Nadu to raise the water level in the Mullaperiyar dam from 136 ft to 142 ft.

The court had in May quashed a law enacted by the State to prevent Tamil Nadu from raising the water level.

“We see no ground to interfere with our judgment dated May 7, 2014,” said a five-judge bench of Chief Justice H.L. Dattu and Justices J. Chelameswar, Madan B. Lokur, M.Y. Eqbal and C. Nagappan while dismissing the petition filed by Kerala seeking a review of the verdict. The State faulted the judgment on various grounds. It suffered from a fundamental and erroneous assumption that the Tamil Nadu government became the successor to the 1886 agreement between the then Madras Presidency and the Princely state of Travancore.

“The empowered committee submitted its report to this court on 23.04.2012 along with the study conducted by it. Kerala was not given any opportunity to lead the evidence or to cross examine the authors of the study, which is a violation of natural justice.”

It pointed out that Periyar’s entire length of 244 km was within the territory of Kerala. Both the river’s banks too were in Kerala.

The finding that the lease deed of 1886 was valid and binding on Kerala and enforceable by Tamil Nadu, “suffers from manifest errors of law which go to the root of the matter… Even after increase of the storage level from 136 ft to 142 ft, the benefits that accrue to Tamil Nadu are very minimal, being 0.5262 TMCft annually [which may irrigate about 5600 acres],” the petition said. Seeking a review of the verdict, the State said it reserved the liberty to seek a stay on the operation of the May 7 judgment.

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Printable version | Jan 17, 2022 2:42:18 PM |

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