New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Tuesday came down heavily on Tamil Nadu and Kerala governments, and criticised them saying that instead of dousing the fire they were adding fuel to the Mullaperiyar Dam row.
Questioning the Tamil Nadu government, the five-judge Constitution Bench, headed by Justice DK Jain, asked Tamil Nadu to ensure that the water level in the dam does not exceed 136 feet but declined to entertain Kerala's plea for reducing the level to 120 feet.
Stating a deadline of Thursday, the court has asked the Central Government to confirm whether the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) has to be deployed at the dam site.
It refused a plea made by the Tamil Nadu government, which sought a restraint on speeches made by Kerala politicians, saying, "How can we gag people?"
The court observed that as the Supreme Court empowered committee was still looking into the dam row issue, it would not pass any order as of now.
The apex court also took strong objection to the Tamil Nadu government releasing an advertisement in a national daily which made use of a Supreme Court observation in the issue related with the dam row.
Tamil Nadu government, on December 1, had moved the apex court accusing Kerala government of whipping up a "fear psychosis" on Mullaperiyar row and sought the court's direction to restrain the state from making any controversial statement on the issue.
Tamil Nadu alleged Kerala, despite a status quo order by the apex court, was giving public statements on the issue of pulling down the dam and constructing a new one in its place.
Kerala government had responded on December 8 by filing an application for a direction to Tamil Nadu government to reduce the water level in the dam from 136 feet to 120 feet so as to avoid any immediate calamity.
While Kerala wants to demolish the dam located in its Idukki district due to the perceived ecological threat and possible collapse of the dam, Tamil Nadu wants the structure to be protected as it caters to irrigation and drinking water needs of a dozen of its districts.
(With additional information from PTI)