Skip to main content

Special apex court bench hears petition against Central decision on Narmada dam; next hearing on Jan 9

Medha Patkar
By Our Representative
In an important development, the newly-constituted social justice bench of the Supreme Court has heard the powerful anti-dam body, Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA’s) petition challenging the decision of the Narmada Control Authority (NCA) in June 2014 to raise the height of the Sardar Sarovar dam by 17 metres. NBA leader Medha Patkar, calling the NCA decision “unlawful”, in a statement said the constitution of the special social justice bench was a welcome move, adding, “2.5 lakh Narmada dam oustees await justice and guarantee of no submergence without lawful rehabilitation.”
After hearing the petition, the bench called for brief submissions to be made by December 25 by the NBA, the Union Government through the NCA, and state governments of Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Gujarat. This would be followed by the next hearing on January 9, 2015.”
The special social justice bench has been constituted by the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of India, and this was the first case it heard by a bench presided by Justice MB Lokur and Justice U Lalit. A Supreme Court notice on the constitution of the Bench said, “In order to ensure that social justice, one of the ideals of the Indian Constitution, is realized and these cases are given a specialized approach for early disposal so that the masses will realize the fruits of the rights provided to them by the constitutional text”.
An NBA statement said, “NBA's petition has challenged the unjust submergence faced by the 45,000 families in the Narmada valley – plains and hilly villages of Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Gujarat – due to increase in dam height. NBA in its submission prayed that till today the rehabilitation of thousands of adivasis, farmers, fish workers, landless families is pending, and a massive Rs 1,000 crore corruption scam is under judicial inquiry in Madhya Pradesh.”
The statement further said, “Numerous orders of the Grievance Redressal (GRAs) un-implemented in hundreds of cases, still the NCA has permitted a further raise in the dam height, by installation of piers, overhead bridge and 17 metres high gates.” It quoted from the submission to say that “the decision has been taken on a completely false and arbitrary ground that there would be no additional submergence!”
The statement pointed out, “In the past years, thousands of oustees have already faced the severe impacts of submergence by water releases from upstream dams, flooding of thousands of acres of farm lands, hundreds of houses, fishing nets etc. Further dam work is bound to increase submergence of the thickly populated villages with prime agriculture, horticulture, shops, markets, schools, dispensaries panchayats, temples, mosques, ghats etc.”
The NBA statement quoted former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh as assuring the Supreme Court in July 2006 that the dam work would not be pushed ahead, without rehabilitation. “In the past eight years, the dam work was stopped and all matters are before the Courts, GRA and Commission of Inquiry, without whose permission further construction cannot take place”, it said.
“However”, it said, “Ignoring the Narmada Tribunal Award, Rehabilitation Polices, Action Plans and Judgements of the Supreme Court of 1991, 2000, 2002 and 2005, the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government has taken the present decision to complete the dam, by construction upto final height of 138.68 metres.”
Claimed the statement, “The special bench heard the matter and appreciated the detailed submissions by senior counsel Sanjay Parikh and Medha Patkar, petitioner in person on behalf of project oustees, represented by the NBA. The petitioners argued that the case not only involved the life of lakhs of people but also grave questions of law, social and constitutional justice are involved and had implications for the right to life as well.”

Comments

TRENDING

Buddhist shrines massively destroyed by Brahmanical rulers in "pre-Islamic" era: Historian DN Jha's survey

Nalanda mahavihara By Our Representative Prominent historian DN Jha, an expert in India's ancient and medieval past, in his new book , "Against the Grain: Notes on Identity, Intolerance and History", in a sharp critique of "Hindutva ideologues", who look at the ancient period of Indian history as "a golden age marked by social harmony, devoid of any religious violence", has said, "Demolition and desecration of rival religious establishments, and the appropriation of their idols, was not uncommon in India before the advent of Islam".

India sees 62 journo deaths, 4th highest, amidst pandemic: Swiss media rights body

By Our Representative The Switzerland-based media rights body Press Emblem Campaign (PEC) has noted that India is the fourth most affected country as far as mediapersons’ death on account of Covid-19 is concerned. According to Blaise Lempen, secretary-general of PEC, the global tally of casualties among media persons in the Covid-19 pandemic has reached 1,036 journalists in 73 countries till date.

Liberating Bengal Hindus? Worst flames of communal division, lessons from the past

By Shamsul Islam*  The whole thrust of the RSS-BJP election campaign for 2021 state assembly elections in West Bengal has been to save Bengal from the rule of Mamata Bannerjee who is allegedly not a ‘Hindu’. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, a self-proclaimed Hindu nationalist, as usual set the polarizing agenda. While addressing the first election rally, he called upon the electorate to overthrow the ‘nirmam’ (cruel) rule of Mamata by showing a ‘Ram Card’. He did not name Hindus directly but there was no confusion about the religious identity of the electorate Indian PM was addressing to.

Swami Vivekananda's views on caste and sexuality were 'painfully' regressive

By Bhaskar Sur* Swami Vivekananda now belongs more to the modern Hindu mythology than reality. It makes a daunting job to discover the real human being who knew unemployment, humiliation of losing a teaching job for 'incompetence', longed in vain for the bliss of a happy conjugal life only to suffer the consequent frustration.

Pradeep Bhattacharya, who spent his life for the cause of working masses, rational thinking

By YS Gill*  At 11:30 pm on May 3, 2021, I lost my best friend and comrade Pradeep Bhattacharya. He spent his life dedicated to the cause of the working masses and rational thinking. A person of thorough scientific outlook and a well-read student of Marxian thought, he was a walking encyclopedia and could speak on a wide variety of topics from art and culture to science, philosophy, history and politics.

Rs 5 crore 'demand' for India Today anchor: What about 52 lesser souls who died in April?

By Vidya Bhushan Rawat*  A well known Hindutva protagonist masquerading as journalist passed away recently resulting in messages of condolences and tribute right from the Prime Minister and the Home Minister to progressive liberals expressing grief of his untimely death. It is said that he passed away due to cardiac arrest, though the fact is, he was also Covid infected. The Prime Minister and the Home Minister termed him a ‘brave’ journalist, insisting, his passing away has left a big ‘vacuum’.

Modi's Hindutva 'ensuring' empowerment of rich, disenfranchisement of poor

Bhabani Shankar Nayak*  The Hindutva socio-psychopaths are neither nationalists nor patriotic people. These medieval reactionary forces don’t understand the idea of citizenship, justice, liberty, equality and humanism. Indian democracy is merely an electoral transaction for the Hindutva forces. Hindutva forces neither follow science nor understand the sufferings of fellow human beings. These core qualities are common among the Hindutva forces in India.

Communal rhetoric? Hindutva preached by RSS-BJP is 'monolithic', not Hinduism

By Prem Verma*  I am a devout Hindu but not a believer of RSS Hindutva form of Hinduism which brings about hatred of other religions. My Hindu religion has not taught me to look down on other religions and neither has it instilled in me to go about converting others to my religion because my religion is superior.

India's Covid-19 'nightmare': A product of majoritarian Hindutva ideological praxis?

By Bhabani Shankar Nayak*  Indians struggle to find place and time to bury their dead due to the devastating effects of the second wave of Covid-19 in India. The crematoriums in the capital cities are overflowing with dead bodies. People are dying without oxygen and basic medical support. The cities like Delhi and Mumbai are struggling to cope with the rising number of infections and COVID-19 led deaths. The deaths and destitutions are products of a defunct BJP government led by Narendra Modi.

Indian media persons collapsing to Covid disease as fast as 3 per day, third highest

Yogesh Sharma, Shailesh Rawal  By Our Representative  The Switzerland based media rights and safety body, Press Emblem Campaign ( PEC ) has said that it is “alarming for Indian journalists”, who have lost at least 107 colleagues to Covid-19”, noting, Indian “journo-colleagues” have been collapsing to the Covid-19 complications now as fast as three scribes per day. In a statement, PEC said, “India with 107 media corona-casualties has already placed itself on the third position just below Brazil (181 dead) and Peru (140) in the list of Covid-19 victims among journalist.”