NBA Press Release
  21 August 2008
Save The Narmada, Save Humanity!

Jabalpur High Court Gives Final Order on Case Regarding Corruption in Sardar Sarovar Rehabilitation

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HIGH LEVEL COMMISSION OF ENQUIRY APPOINTED TO INQUIRE UPON ISSUES RAISED

FORMER JUSTICE S.S. JHA TO INQUIRE INTO FAKE REGISTRIES, CORRUPTION AND PROGRESS OF WORK IN RESETTLEMENT SITES

The Chief Justice A J Patnaik and Justice Sanjay Yadav, the bench of Madhya Pradesh High Court today delivered its final judgment in the case filed by Narmada Bachao Andolan V/s Govt. of M.P., Narmada Valley Development Authority, Narmada Control Authority and others in November 2007.

The High Court has appointed a High level Commission of Inquiry into the charges of massive corruption in rehabilitation of Sardar Sarovar Affected Families, to be chaired by Shri Shravan Shankar Jha, former Judge of High Court of M.P. The commission will inquire into the following:

1. Who are the persons responsible for the fake registries related to Special Rehabilitation Package granted to the PAFs.

2. Whether the construction works on civic amenities at the R&R sites are of sub-standard quantity or not, compared to the norms, standards and the expenses incurred.

Any new registry/land deal for rehabilitation can hence forth be made only through and with consent of the commission. The High Court has ordered. The High Courtís order refers to the fact that REHABILITATION IS A FUNDAMENTAL RIGHT OF THE PROJECT AFFECTED UNDER ARTICLE 21 OF THE INDIAN CONSTITUTION and the same is upheld by the Supreme Court and in its judgment in the case of Narmada Bachao Andolan, 2000 & 2005. Hence, corruption in rehabilitation that leads to violation of this right (Right to Life) can require intervention of the High Court to protect the fundamental rights under Art 226, quoting Justice P.N. Bhagawatiís judgment in the case by Bandhua Mukti Morcha V/s Union of India (SC441/1984).

The High Court dismissed the argument by the Govt. of M.P. that Grievances Redressal Authority appointed can look into the cases of corruption, on the ground that the petitionerís pleas, their memorandums to GRA, which were not taken cognizance of and if GRA was responsible, why did the state of M.P. need to take up the earlier enquiry itself ?

The Chief Justice in his judgment has remarked that enquiry by CBI also may need fact finding, preceding the final. The order states that in the event of this high level commission appointed by the High Court, the state Govt. may, if it finds unnecessary, withdraw the NC Nagraj (Former Dist. Judge) Commission appointed by it during the proceedings of the case. THE JUDGMENT ALSO INCLUDED THAT PETITIONERS MAY COME BACK TO COURT AFTER SUBMISSION OF COMMISSIONíS REPORT OR WITHIN 6 MONTHS, WHICH EVER IS EARLIER.

The commission can select Police officials, Revenue officials & PWD officials team for investigation. The commission is to submit its report within 6 months and the total expenses on honorarium of the Chairman, office staff (one secretary, two stenos) and infrastructure is to be borne by the Govt. of M.P.

Narmada Bachao Andolan welcomes the judgment which is an unprecedented one, looking into massive corruption in large dams and development projects, the issue of utmost concern in many other dams and projects such as Tehri Dam. NBA hopes that the Enquiry by an upright former judge would expose the nexus of officials and agents with politicians in support, and check further corruption as well as violation of the rights of the Project Affected.

Ashis Mandloi, Ranvir Patel, Mohan Patidar, Medha Patkar