NEW DELHI

Babli: Supreme Court issues notice to Maharashtra

Legal Correspondent

Order passed on contempt plea filed by Andhra Pradesh

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Tuesday issued notice to Maharashtra on a contempt petition filed by Andhra Pradesh alleging that Maharashtra had installed five gates at the Babli reservoir in wilful disobedience of the order dated April 26, 2007.

A three-judge bench comprising Chief Justice K.G. Balakrishnan, Justice P. Sathasivam and Justice B.S. Chauhan issued notice after senior counsel P.P. Rao, appearing for Andhra Pradesh, submitted that Maharashtra had violated the order. Senior counsel T.R. Andhyarujina, appearing for Maharashtra, however, denied there was any contempt and said that no gates had been installed. The Bench while issuing notice posted the suit filed by Andhra Pradesh for final disposal and said the contempt petition would also be heard along with the suit.

In its contempt petition, Andhra Pradesh said that it filed a suit in 2006 for an interim injunction to restrain Maharashtra from proceeding with the construction of Babli barrage. In its order dated April 26, 2007, the court said that Maharashtra might go ahead with the construction, but it should not install the proposed 13 gates until further orders. The petition said that in spite of being aware of the restraint order, Maharashtra had already installed five gates and was proceeding further with the work of installing the remaining gates in the barrage and thus had committed contempt of the Supreme Court.

No evidence

It said the petitioner sent a legal notice asking the Maharashtra government and its officials to dismantle all the gates installed, but so far, there was no evidence of either dismantling of the gates installed or stoppage of work. Hence, the present petition to initiate contempt proceedings against the Maharashtra Chief Secretary and four other officials.

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