SC rejects Kerala plea for review of Mullaperiyar dam verdict

New Delhi: The Supreme Court has dismissed a plea by the Kerala government for review of its verdict that struck down the 2006 Kerala Act that sought to restrict the water level in Mullaperiyar dam at 136 feet.

The bench of Chief Justice H.L. Dattu, Justice J. Chelameswar, Justice Madan B. Lokur, Justice M.Y. Eqbal and Justice C. Nagappan dismissed the plea after considering it in their chamber.

"The application for an open court hearing is rejected. We have gone through the review petition and the connected papers. We see no reason to interfere in the impugned order. Review petition is dismissed," the court's order said Tuesday.

Kerala had sought review of the May 7 Supreme Court verdict by which the apex court allowed Tamil Nadu's plea to raise the water level from 136 feet to 142 feet.

A constitution bench of Chief Justice R.M. Lodha (since retired), Justice Dattu, Justice Chandramauli Kumar Prasad, Justice Lokur and Justice Eqbal by its May 7 verdict had said: "It is declared that the Kerala Irrigation and Water Conservation (Amendment) Act, 2006, passed by the Kerala legislature is unconstitutional in its application to and effect on the Mullaperiyar dam."

Kerala had sought review of the apex court verdict on several grounds. It said its right to equality as guaranteed by Article 14 was breached as details of the tests and studies on the safety of Mullaperiyar dam were not shared with it.

The Empowered Committee that carried out the tests and studies was headed by former Chief Justice of India Justice A.S. Anand.

In its review plea moved June 30, the Kerala government contended that the "Non-disclosure and non-supply of the investigations, tests and studies (ITS) by the Empowered Committee is contrary to the rules of natural justice and fair procedure violating Article 14 of the Constitution, and therefore its appraisals and conclusions on the safety of the Mullaperiyar dam are also of no legal consequence."

The Kerala government in its review plea said it was not given an opportunity to rebut the studies by the Central Water Commission on the impact of maximum flood, which may be caused if the water level is raised to 142 feet.

Kerala had opposed raising of the water level to 142 feet, citing safety of the dam.

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