Mekedatu: SC refrains from passing order on TN's plea

SC refrains from passing order on Tamil Nadu's plea against NGT order on Mekedatu

Tamil Nadu was aggrieved with the order by the green tribunal passed on June 17, 2021

Supreme Court of India. Credit: PTI Photo

The Supreme Court on Friday refrained from passing any order on the Tamil Nadu government's plea against the National Green Tribunal's order closing the suo motu proceedings related to the formation of a committee on the proposed Mekedatu balancing reservoir and drinking water project with an estimated cost of Rs 5,912 crores.

A bench presided over by Justice A M Khanwilkar said the petition filed by Tamil Nadu would be considered after the pronouncement of judgement on suo motu power of the NGT.

The top court had separately reserved the judgement on the legal issue of whether the NGT could exercise suo motu jurisdiction under the 2010 Act, on the basis of a letter or news report.

On Friday, senior advocate Shekhar Naphade appeared for Tamil Nadu and senior counsel Shyam Divan for Karnataka.

Tamil Nadu was aggrieved with the order by the green tribunal passed on June 17, 2021.

The tribunal at New Delhi had then allowed a review application by Karnataka against the Southern bench's order forming a joint committee for inspection on the basis of a news report on preliminary works allegedly being undertaken for the project.

In its plea, Tamil Nadu said, the tribunal failed to consider the environmental damage likely to be caused by the continuation of the construction works which involved a large extent of Reserve Forests and Wildlife Sanctuaries.

It also contended that the tribunal erred in holding that the issue was sub-judice before the top court which, in fact, pertained to the grant of permission for conducting a feasibility report and the detailed project report. 

"The issue involved in the NGT was regard to the alleged initiation of activities in the reserved forest without any clearances," it said.

The state government further said the principal NGT bench proceeded to hear the review application, instead of relegating the applicant state of Karnataka to the Southern bench which passed the order under review.

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