NEW DELHI, APRIL 16: The authority set-up by the Supreme Court to look into the relief and rehabilitation work for Narmada oustees submitted its report in the court on Thursday. The independent Committee was headed by Justice P D Desai.
The authority was set-up after an interim order by the Court in February this year which included the permission for the height of the dam to be raised by five metres. The decision had come after the government of the three states had stated in the Court that the R&R work could be done satisfactorily for the project-affected persons (PAPs).
The findings of the report are significant because they will decide whether further construction will be allowed on the disputed dam.
In another significant statement, the three-member special bench comprising Chief Justice A S Anand, S P Bharucha and B N Kripal took severe note of the activities of NBA. The activists took to the streets, sat on dharna and gave speeches espousing the cause of the oustees in the last two months.
"Youcan either petition through us or through other means or agencies," said Chief Justice A S Anand. He was specially referring to the NBA asking the Ministry of Social Justice and Welfare Ministry to look into the R&R issue. "You have to chose between the two - the government or the Court," he added.
Also counsel for the Government of Gujarat, Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh, Harish Salve also alleged that the officials conducting the inquiry were beaten up in a few places and not allowed to work.
To this, the counsel for the petitioners NBA, Shanti Bhushan said that if that were the case, the Court should relieve them of the petition. "If anybody says anything against the Supreme Court, then I will castigate them but it has not happened," he said.
Justice Bharucha said that the press reports of the last fortnight had indicated that the activists were busy airing their grievances while the matter was been investigated by the Authority.
The NBA had also written a letter to the President in whichpersonalities like Arundhati Roy, Bhim Sen Joshi, Jayant Narlikar, Rajendra Yadav, Madhavi Mudgal and Raghu Rai have supported the cause.
The report, the Judges said, was only meant for court proceedings and was not to circulated elsewhere till the Court meets again on May 7 for the next hearing.
Copyright © 1999 Indian Express Newspapers (Bombay) Ltd.