Car parking near Mullaperiyar dam: SC seeks Kerala's reply to TN's objection to survey report

The Tamil Nadu government on Monday opposed in the Supreme Court the finding of the Survey of India that Kerala has not encroached upon land covered under the Periyar Lake Lease Agreement of October 1886 while executing a mega parking project near the Mullaperiyar dam.
Supreme Court on Car parking near Mullaperiyar dam
Supreme Court on Car parking near Mullaperiyar dam

New Delhi | The Tamil Nadu government on Monday opposed in the Supreme Court the finding of the Survey of India that Kerala has not encroached upon land covered under the Periyar Lake Lease Agreement of October 1886 while executing a mega parking project near the Mullaperiyar dam.

A bench of Justices Abhay S Oka and Ujjal Bhuyan fixed July 10 for finalising the legal issues to be heard in the original suit filed by Tamil Nadu against Kerala. “Tamil Nadu has filed an affidavit objecting to the survey report. The defendant (Kerala) shall file an affidavit with regard to the said objections,” the bench said.

It gave Kerala four weeks to file its reply to the objections raised by Tamil Nadu and asked the two states to finalise the core legal issues that need to be adjudicated upon.

The affidavit filed by the Tamil Nadu government objected to the survey report and said it was factually incorrect that the entire car parking was constructed outside the leased area.

The Tamil Nadu government, represented by senior advocates P Wilson and Umapathi, said the Survey of India report needs to be rejected.

The state's affidavit said the survey team ought to have involved other agencies for ascertaining the original ground level instead of arriving at a conclusion based on "presumption and surmise".

The Survey of India, which filed its report to the apex court on March 5, 2024 in a sealed cover, gave a finding that the mega car park has not been constructed within the leased water area and does not affect the water reservoir.

On November 11, 2023, the top court had ordered a survey by the Survey of India to ascertain whether the mega car park has been constructed on any part of the property covered by the Periyar Lake Lease Agreement of October 29, 1886.

The agreement was signed between the Maharaja of Travancore and the Secretary of State for India for the Periyar Irrigation works for a period of 999 years.

In its suit filed in 2014, Tamil Nadu sought a decree of permanent injunction restraining Kerala from trespassing/encroaching upon the area leased to it under the Agreement of 1886 and affirmed by the supplemental agreements of 1970 and from taking up any further construction of the mega car park in the leased area. It also sought restoration of the land trespassed/encroached upon to its original state.

The top court had on November 11, 2023 said the Survey of India or the officers nominated by it will determine the precise area or property covered by the said lease deed and ascertain whether the construction of the mega car park has been made in the leased area.

"We direct the Survey of India or the officers nominated by it to carry out the work of demarcation and survey after giving advance notice to the officers nominated by both the States," the bench had said. It gave the Survey of India three months to file its report directly to the apex court.

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