NBA Press Release
  18 December 2009
Save The Narmada, Save Humanity!

SC declines to lift High Court stay on ISP-OSP Canals: Next hearing on Jan 19th

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Land acquisition and excavation of Narmada canals to remain stalled.
Supreme Court declines to stay Jabalpur High Court Judgement on Indira Sagar and Omkareshwar Canals: Next hearing on 19th January

The Supreme Court today declined to grant a stay on the indefinite status quo order dated 11-11-09 of the Jabalpur High Court on land acquisition and canal excavation for the Indira Sagar and Omkareshwar canals. By last month’s order, the High Court had put the canal work in abeyance until the environment and rehabilitation plans of the two projects are fully planned, approved by Central authorities and implemented by the State.

The Special Leave Petition for appeal against the said judgment filed by the Government of Madhya Pradesh and Narmada Valley Development Authority came up for hearing today before a Bench of Chief Justice Shri K.G. Balakrishnan, Justice Shri Sathasivam and Justice Shri Sudarshan Reddy. Terming the Judgment of the High Court as ‘baseless and unlawful, the GoMP / NVDA asserted that the two projects being intra-state projects, there is no role for Central intervention or monitoring.

Noting with concern the fact that even after 15-20 years after the Projects were granted clearance, final environment and Resettlement & Rehabilitation plans for the canal-affected are not in place, High Court of Jabalpur granted an indefinite stay on the ISP and OSP canals until the MoEF Ministry of Experts and central authorities receive and approve the plans. This Order was made on a PIL filed by the canal-affected adivasis and farmers along with Narmada Bachao Andolan. It may be mentioned that the GoMP and NVDA have been trying to impose and justify the acquisition of thousands of acres of fertile irrigated agricultural by applying the urgency clause, and without assessing the options for irrigation in these already irrigated villages on the banks of Narmada. Arguing that the Rehabilitation Policy cannot be made applicable to the canal-affected Shri Harish Salve, senior counsel made a statement that “Rehabilitation cannot be a fundamental right”. It was also argued on behalf of the State that the Central Ministries’ intervention in this case is unlawful, which is further justified by the High Court’s Order and have prayed, through their petition that the same be quashed.

However, the Supreme Court heard the parties briefly today and refused to grant a stay on the High Court’s judgment and issued notices to the parties to file replies. Senior counsel Shri Mukul Rohtagi appeared for the State, along with senior counsel Shri Harish Salve. Senior advocate Shri Sanjay Parikh pleased the case for NBA, along with Medha Patkar, one of the petitioners in person. The matter has been posted to the 19th January, 2010. Some of the affected farmers and adivasis from the Narmada valley were also present in the Supreme Court today.

Ranveer Tomar Jamsing Richa Ashish Mandloi