New Delhi: The Supreme Court Monday asked a petitioner, who was seeking a direction to the Centre to deploy any of the central security force at the 126-year-old Mullaperiyar dam for its protection, not to multiply pleas in the case, saying all the issues related to the dam would be considered in the main matter.
The apex court, which refused to entertain the fresh petition, granted liberty to the petitioner to move a formal application for impleadment in the pending proceeding.
“Why do you want this matter to multiply? All the issues are there,” a bench of Justices A M Khanwilkar and C T Ravikumar said, adding, “All the issues will be considered in the main matter”.
“Don’t multiply writ petitions. Individuals will come here and start filing petitions. The main issue is pending and it is being expedited now,” the bench told advocate C R Jaya Sukin, who was appearing for the petitioner.
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The top court had on November 22 said that issues related to the dam, which was built in 1895 on the Periyar river in Idukki district of Kerala, would be heard on December 10 after the parties had said that the main matter should proceed expeditiously.
During the hearing on Monday, Jaya Sukin told the bench that any of the national or international expert committees have not said anything about the increasing water level threat to the dam.
When the apex court said all the issues would be considered in the main matter, the advocate requested the bench to issue notice on the plea and tag it with the pending matter.
“We are disposing it of with liberty to you to get yourself impleaded there,” the bench said.
The plea, filed by a Tamil Nadu resident, said there has been a demand for decommissioning of the dam and the agitators have now “hardened” their stand and are seeking that a new dam should be built.
In the main matter, the top court had on November 22 said that there are several pending petitions related to the dam and it will deal with all the issues raised in one proceeding.
On October 28, the apex court had said that Tamil Nadu and Kerala would abide by the water level notified by the expert committee.
The Kerala government had told the top court that ”no amount of rejuvenation” can perpetuate the dam and there is a limit to the number of years one can keep dams in service through maintenance and strengthening measures.
It had said the only permanent solution for removing the ”eternal threat owing to the safety concerns” of the dam and for protecting the safety of lakhs of people living the downstream of Mullaperiyar dam is to build a new dam in the downstream reaches of the existing dam.
In an affidavit filed before the apex court, the Kerala government had urged that the proposal to fix the upper rule level of Mullaperiyar dam at 142 feet on September 20 as formulated by Tamil Nadu may be avoided.
In its response to the affidavit filed by Kerala, the state of Tamil Nadu had said that “repeated assertion” of Kerala and petitioners from there in the pleas filed from time-to-time seek to decommission of the existing dam and construction of a new dam, which is “wholly impermissible” in the light of the apex court verdict on the safety of the dam.
”The dam has been found to be hydrologically, structurally, and seismically safe,” Tamil Nadu had said.
The Tamil Nadu government had also told the apex court that ”repeated assertion” by Kerala to seek decommissioning of the dam is ”wholly impermissible” as the dam is hydrologically, structurally, and seismically safe.