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Saturday, May 17, 2014

Original civil suit before Apex court - for declaration of state enactment nullifing the judgement of Apex court in implementing the lease agreement in respect of Mulla periyar Dam between two states Keral and Tamilnadu - Apex court decreed suit - it is declared that the Kerala Irrigation and Water Conservation (Amendment) Act, 2006 passed by the Kerala legislature is unconstitutional in its application to and effect on the Mullaperiyar dam. The 1st defendant – State of Kerala – is restrained by a decree of permanent injunction from applying and enforcing the impugned legislation or in any manner interfering with or obstructing the State of Tamil Nadu from increasing the water level to 142 ft. and from carrying out the repair works as per the judgment of this Court dated 27.2.2006 in W.P.(C) No. 386/2001 with connected matters. = State of Tamil Nadu …… Plaintiff Versus State of Kerala & Anr. …… Defendants = 2014 (May.Part) http://judis.nic.in/supremecourt/filename=41511

Original civil suit before Apex court - for declaration of  state enactment nullifing the judgement of Apex court in implementing the lease agreement in respect of Mullaperiyar Dam between two states Keral and Tamilnadu - Apex court decreed suit -  it  is  declared  that  the  Kerala  Irrigation   and   Water Conservation (Amendment) Act, 2006  passed  by  the  Kerala  legislature  is unconstitutional in its application to and effect on the  Mullaperiyar  dam.
The 1st defendant –  State  of  Kerala  –  is  restrained  by  a  decree  of  permanent injunction from applying and enforcing  the  impugned  legislation or in any manner interfering with or obstructing the  State  of  Tamil  Nadu from increasing the water level to 142 ft. and from carrying out the  repair works as per the judgment of this  Court  dated  27.2.2006  in  W.P.(C)  No. 386/2001 with connected matters. =

 Water  level  of  Mullaperiyar  dam  
after  it  had  solved  on   27.02.2006
(Mullaperiyar Environmental Protection Forum[1]) because  the  Kerala  State
Legislature enacted the law immediately thereafter fixing and limiting  Full
Reservoir Level (FRL) to 136 ft. =
Mullaperiyar dam : 1886 Lease Agreement

The dam is situated at Thekkady  District  in  Kerala
and is owned and operated by the Government  of  Tamil  Nadu.  By  the  1886
Lease Agreement between the Maharaja of  Travancore  and  the  Secretary  of
State for India in Council, the leased area as set out therein  was  granted
on lease for 999 years from 01.01.1886. 

1979-1980 : Controversy about safety of the Dam

Tamil Nadu says that all measures – emergency, medium  and  long
term as suggested by the CWC have been undertaken by it but despite that  no
consensus could be reached between the two State Governments (of Tamil  Nadu
and Kerala)  to raise the water level in the Mullaperiyar  reservoir  beyond
136 ft. =
 the  Expert  Committee  had
opined that water level in the Mullaperiyar reservoir  could  be  raised  to
142 ft. (43.28 m.) as that will not endanger the safety  of  the  main  dam,
including spillway, baby dam and earthen bund.=

Despite the above recommendation from the Expert Committee,  the
Government of Kerala continued to resist  raising  of  water  level  in  the
reservoir beyond 136 ft.=
After hearing the parties, including the two states, this  Court
gave  its  decision  on  27.02.2006  permitting  the  water  level  in   the
Mullaperiyar dam to be raised up to 142 ft. The  State  of  Kerala  and  its
officers were also restrained from causing any obstruction to the above.  
It
was also observed that after the strengthening  work  was  complete  to  the
satisfaction of CWC, independent experts  would  examine  the  safety  angle
before the water level is permitted to be raised up to 152 ft.=
2006 (Amendment) Act
14.         On 18.03.2006, in less than three weeks of the decision of  this
Court in Mullaperiyar Environmental  Protection  Forum1,  the  Kerala  State
legislature  amended  2003  Act  by  the   Kerala   Irrigation   and   Water
Conservation (Amendment) Act, 2006 [for short, “2006 (Amendment)  Act”)][2].

15.         In the Second Schedule, appended to the  2006  (Amendment)  Act,
the Mullaperiyar dam owned and maintained by Tamil Nadu is included as  Item
No. 1 where the height of the FRL has been fixed at 136 ft. =

 The State of Tamil Nadu immediately  thereafter  instituted  the
present suit under Article 131 of the  Constitution  of  India  against  the
State of  Kerala.
Tamil Nadu  has  sought  two-fold  relief,
(i) to declare the 2006 (Amendment) Act passed by the Kerala legislature  as
unconstitutional in its application to and effect on  the  Mullaperiyar  dam
and (ii) to pass a decree of  permanent  injunction  restraining  the  first
defendant from applying and enforcing the impugned  legislation  interfering
with or obstructing the plaintiff  from increasing the water  level  to  142
ft. and from carrying out the repair works  as  per  the  judgment  of  this
Court dated 27.02.2006 in W. P. (Civil)  No.  386  of  2001  with  connected
matters. The Union of India has been impleaded as defendant  no.  2  in  the
suit.=
A suit filed in original jurisdiction of  this
Court is not governed by the procedure prescribed in  Civil  Procedure  Code
save and except the procedure which has been expressly  made  applicable  by
the Supreme Court Rules.=
When we see 1886 Lease Agreement in light  of  Section  177
of the 1935 Act, there remains no doubt at all that lease that was  executed
by the Secretary of State in Council for the Presidency  of  Madras  (Madras
Province) had the effect as if it had been made on behalf of the  Presidency
of Madras or for that matter Madras Province.  To  put  it  differently,  by
legal fiction created under Section  177(1)(a),  the  Presidency  of  Madras
(Madras Province) became lessee under the 1886  Lease  Agreement.  We  have,
therefore, no hesitation in accepting the submission  of  Mr.  Vinod  Bobde,
learned senior counsel for Tamil Nadu that by virtue of Section 177  of  the
1935 Act, as from the commencement of the 1935 Act, the  Government  of  the
Province of Madras is deemed to be substituted as the  lessee  in  the  1886
Lease Agreement.=
The nature of  1886  Lease  Agreement  being  not  political  is
already  concluded  by   this   Court   in   2006   judgment   (Mullaperiyar
Environmental Protection Forum1). This Court has held therein – and we  have
no justifiable reason to take a different view – that 1886  Lease  Agreement
is an ordinary agreement being a lease  agreement  and  it  is  wholly  non-
political in nature.
49.         There is, thus, no merit in the contention  advanced  on  behalf
of Kerala that 1886 Lease Agreement  lapsed  under  the  main  provision  of
Section 7(1)(b) of 1947 Act.

The submission of the learned senior counsel for  Kerala  can  hardly
be accepted firstly, in view  of  our  finding  that  1886  Lease  Agreement
continued on and from 15.08.1947 and secondly, in view of  the  decision  of
this Court in State of Andhra Pradesh3, wherein a three-Judge Bench of  this
Court speaking through one of us (R.M. Lodha, J., as he then was)  observed,
“when an agreement is entered into between two or  more  states,  they  have
assistance of competent, legal and technical minds available with them.  The
states do not have lack of drafting ability. Such agreement is  provided  by
trained minds…….”. 

In view of the foregoing discussion, we hold that Tamil Nadu  is
entitled to the reliefs as prayed in para 40  (i)  and  (ii)  of  the  suit.
Consequently,  it  is  declared  that  the  Kerala  Irrigation   and   Water
Conservation (Amendment) Act, 2006  passed  by  the  Kerala  legislature  is
unconstitutional in its application to and effect on the  Mullaperiyar  dam.
The 1st defendant –  State  of  Kerala  –  is  restrained  by  a  decree  of
permanent injunction from applying and enforcing  the  impugned  legislation
or in any manner interfering with or obstructing the  State  of  Tamil  Nadu
from increasing the water level to 142 ft. and from carrying out the  repair
works as per the judgment of this  Court  dated  27.2.2006  in  W.P.(C)  No.
386/2001 with connected matters.

222.        However, to allay  the  apprehensions  of  Kerala-  though  none
exists - about the safety of the Mullaperiyar dam on restoration of the  FRL
to 142 ft., a 3-Member Supervisory Committee is constituted.  The  Committee
shall have one representative from the  Central  Water  Commission  and  one
representative each from the  two  States  –  Tamil  Nadu  and  Kerala.  The
representative of the Central Water Commission shall be the Chairman of  the
Committee. The Committee will select the place for its office,  which  shall
be provided by Kerala. Tamil Nadu shall bear the entire expenditure  of  the
Committee.

223.        The powers and functions of the Supervisory Committee  shall  be
as follows:

      (i)   The Committee shall supervise the  restoration  of  FRL  in  the
           Mullaperiyar dam to the elevation of 142 ft.

      (ii)   The  Committee  shall  inspect  the  dam   periodically,   more
           particularly, immediately before  the  monsoon  and  during  the
           monsoon and  keep  close  watch  on  its  safety  and  recommend
           measures which are necessary.  Such measures  shall  be  carried
           out by Tamil Nadu.

      (iii) The Committee shall be free to take appropriate steps and  issue
           necessary directions to the two States - Tamil Nadu and Kerala –
           or any of them if so required for the safety of the Mullaperiyar
           dam in an emergent situation.  Such directions shall  be  obeyed
           by all concerned.

      (iv)  The Committee shall permit  Tamil  Nadu  to  carry  out  further
           precautionary  measures  that  may  become  necessary  upon  its
           periodic inspection of the dam in accordance with the guidelines
           of the Central Water Commission and Dam Safety Organisation.

224.        The suit is decreed as above, with no order as to costs.
       2014 (May.Part) http://judis.nic.in/supremecourt/filename=41511                                            R.M. LODHA, H.L. DATTU, CHANDRAMAULI KR. PRASAD, MADAN B. LOKUR, M.Y. EQBAL         

  REPORTABLE
                        IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
                         CIVIL ORIGINAL JURISDICTION
                         ORIGINAL SUIT NO. 3 OF 2006


State of Tamil Nadu                                  ……  Plaintiff

                                   Versus

State of Kerala & Anr.                                     ……  Defendants



                                  JUDGMENT




R.M. LODHA, CJI.



           This Court remains seized of the  problem  with  regard  to  the
water  level  of  Mullaperiyar  dam  after  it  had  solved  on   27.02.2006
(Mullaperiyar Environmental Protection Forum[1]) because  the  Kerala  State
Legislature enacted the law immediately thereafter fixing and limiting  Full
Reservoir Level (FRL) to 136 ft.

Mullaperiyar dam : 1886 Lease Agreement
2.          Mullaperiyar dam – a masonry dam – was constructed  pursuant  to
the Periyar Lake Lease Agreement dated 29.10.1886 (“1886  Lease  Agreement”)
across Periyar river. The construction continued for about eight  years  and
was completed in 1895. The dam is situated at Thekkady  District  in  Kerala
and is owned and operated by the Government  of  Tamil  Nadu.  By  the  1886
Lease Agreement between the Maharaja of  Travancore  and  the  Secretary  of
State for India in Council, the leased area as set out therein  was  granted
on lease for 999 years from 01.01.1886.  The length of the main dam is  1200
ft. (365.76 m.) and top of the dam is 155 ft. (47.24 m.). The top  of  solid
parapet and maximum height of the dam from deepest foundation  are  158  ft.
(48.16 m.) and 176 ft. (53.64 m.), respectively. The FRL of the dam  is  152
ft. (46.33 m.). The original spillway capacity of the dam was  10  vents  of
36’ x 16’ (10.97 m. x 4.88 m.). The length  of  the  Baby  dam  is  240  ft.
(73.15 m.).

1979-1980 : Controversy about safety of the Dam
3.          In 1979 with regard to the safety of the Mullaperiyar  dam,  the
Government of Kerala wrote to the Tamil Nadu Government  to  take  immediate
steps to strengthen the dam.  Simultaneously,  the  Kerala  Government  also
requested the Central  Government  to  depute  a  team  from  Central  Water
Commission (CWC) to inspect the dam and suggest strengthening measures.
4.          In pursuance of the request  from  the  Kerala  Government,  the
then Chairman, CWC inspected the dam and held a  meeting  on  25.11.1979  in
which the  officers  from  Tamil  Nadu  and  Kerala  participated.  In  that
meeting, three level measures, (i) emergency, (ii)  medium  and  (iii)  long
term, were suggested  to  strengthen  the  dam.  In  the  meantime,  it  was
recommended that water level in the reservoir be kept at 136 ft. (41.45 m.)
5.          In the second meeting held on 29.04.1980,  it  was  opined  that
after the completion of emergency and  medium-term  strengthening  measures,
the water level in the reservoir can be restored up to 145 ft. (44.2 m.).
1998 : Litigation begins
6.          Tamil Nadu says that all measures – emergency, medium  and  long
term as suggested by the CWC have been undertaken by it but despite that  no
consensus could be reached between the two State Governments (of Tamil  Nadu
and Kerala)  to raise the water level in the Mullaperiyar  reservoir  beyond
136 ft. This led to the filing of number of writ  petitions  in  the  Kerala
High Court as well as in the Madras High  Court  sometime  in  1998  on  the
issue for and against raising of water level in the  Mullaperiyar  reservoir
and the safety of the dam. As the controversy was  pending  before  the  two
High  Courts  and  there  was  likelihood  of  conflicting  judgments,  some
transfer petitions were filed before this Court.
7.          On 28.04.2000, in the transfer  petitions,  this  Court  desired
Union Minister of Water Resources    to  convene  a  meeting  of  the  Chief
Ministers of Kerala and Tamil  Nadu  to  amicably  resolve  the  issue.  The
meeting was convened on 19.05.2000 but no consensus could be reached in  the
meeting as well.  However, in that meeting,  the  Union  Minister  of  Water
Resources decided to constitute an Expert Committee to go into  the  details
of the safety of the dam and advise him on raising of  water  level  in  the
reservoir.
8.          On 14.06.2000, the Expert Committee was constituted  having  the
following terms of reference.
      “(a)  To study the safety of Mullaperiyar dam located on Periyar river
      in Kerala with respect to the strengthening of dam carried out by  the
      Government of Tamil Nadu in accordance with the strengthening measures
      suggested by CWC and to report/advise the Hon’ble  Minister  of  Water
      Resources on the safety of the dam.

      (b)   To advise the Hon’ble  Minister  of  Water  Resources  regarding
      raising of water level in Mullaperiyar reservoir beyond 136 ft. (41.45
      m) as a result of strengthening of the dam and its safety  as  at  (a)
      above.”


9.          After initial resistance, the  Government  of  Kerala  nominated
one Member to the Expert Committee.

10.         The Expert  Committee  gave  its  final  report  on  16.03.2001.
While the matter was under consideration by the Expert  Committee,  it  also
gave certain interim directions. In its report,  the  Expert  Committee  had
opined that water level in the Mullaperiyar reservoir  could  be  raised  to
142 ft. (43.28 m.) as that will not endanger the safety  of  the  main  dam,
including spillway, baby dam and earthen bund.

First litigation before this Court
11.         Despite the above recommendation from the Expert Committee,  the
Government of Kerala continued to resist  raising  of  water  level  in  the
reservoir beyond 136 ft.  It was then that a  writ  petition  was  filed  by
Mullaperiyar Environmental  Protection  Forum  directly  before  this  Court
wherein diverse prayers were made.  This Court  also  transferred  the  writ
petitions which were pending before the Kerala High Court  and  Madras  High
Court to this Court.

12.         After hearing the parties, including the two states, this  Court
gave  its  decision  on  27.02.2006  permitting  the  water  level  in   the
Mullaperiyar dam to be raised up to 142 ft. The  State  of  Kerala  and  its
officers were also restrained from causing any obstruction to the above.  It
was also observed that after the strengthening  work  was  complete  to  the
satisfaction of CWC, independent experts  would  examine  the  safety  angle
before the water level is permitted to be raised up to 152 ft.

2003 Act
13.         Kerala Irrigation and Water Conservation Act, 2003  (for  short,
“2003 Act”) was enacted by Kerala legislature,  which  came  into  force  on
18.09.2003. 2003 Act was enacted to consolidate and amend the laws  relating
to construction of irrigation works, conservation and distribution of  water
for the purpose of irrigation  and  levy  of  betterment,  contribution  and
water cess on lands benefited by irrigation works in  the  State  of  Kerala
and to provide for involvement of farmers in water  utilisation  system  and
for matters  connected  therewith  or  incidental  thereto.   2003  Act  was
neither referred to nor relied upon by Kerala at  the  time  of  hearing  in
Mullaperiyar Environmental Protection Forum1.

2006 (Amendment) Act
14.         On 18.03.2006, in less than three weeks of the decision of  this
Court in Mullaperiyar Environmental  Protection  Forum1,  the  Kerala  State
legislature  amended  2003  Act  by  the   Kerala   Irrigation   and   Water
Conservation (Amendment) Act, 2006 [for short, “2006 (Amendment)  Act”)][2].

15.         In the Second Schedule, appended to the  2006  (Amendment)  Act,
the Mullaperiyar dam owned and maintained by Tamil Nadu is included as  Item
No. 1 where the height of the FRL has been fixed at 136 ft.

Second litigation before this Court : Suit by Tamil Nadu
16.         The State of Tamil Nadu immediately  thereafter  instituted  the
present suit under Article 131 of the  Constitution  of  India  against  the
State of  Kerala.  It  is  necessary  to  elaborate  somewhat  on  facts  as
proceedings are in the nature of  suit  in  original  jurisdiction  of  this
Court.  The  plaint  avers  that  on  coming  into  force  of   the   States
Reorganisation Act, 1956, (for short, “SR Act”), the State of  Travancore  –
Cochin (Part – B, State) was formed.  The State of Kerala (first  defendant)
is the successor in interest of the State of Travancore – Cochin. The  State
of Tamil Nadu is the successor in  interest  of  the  Governor  in  Council,
Secretary of State for India.  Tamil Nadu has, thus, pleaded that  plaintiff
and  the  first  defendant  are  successors  in  interest  of  the  original
contracting parties of the 1886 Lease Agreement.

17.          It  is  averred  by  Tamil  Nadu  that   on   29.05.1970,   two
supplemental agreements were  executed  between  it  and   Kerala.  The  two
supplemental agreements did not change  the  basic  character  of  the  1886
Lease Agreement. By first supplemental  agreement,  Tamil  Nadu  surrendered
the fishing rights in the  leased  lands  and  also  agreed  to  the  upward
revision of the rent of the leased land.  The second supplemental  agreement
conferred on  Tamil  Nadu,  the  right  to  generate  power  and   right  to
construct all  facilities  required  for  power  generation.  An  additional
extent of 42.7 acres was leased to Tamil Nadu  for  the  said  purposes  and
correspondingly Tamil Nadu was required to pay to Kerala a sum  annually  as
specified in the agreement. Tamil Nadu  claims  that  the  two  supplemental
agreements have re-affirmed, re-asserted and ratified 1886 Lease  Agreement,
which was statutorily protected and continued by Section 108 of the SR  Act.


Grounds of challenge to 2006 (Amendment) Act
18.         The challenge to 2006 (Amendment) Act to the extent  it  affects
Mullaperiyar dam is laid in the plaint on diverse  grounds,  some  of  which
are the following:
      (a)   The impugned  legislation  amounts  to  usurpation  of  judicial
power inasmuch as Kerala State Legislature has arrogated to itself the  role
of a judicial body and has itself determined  the  questions  regarding  the
dam safety and raising the water level when such questions fall  exclusively
within the province of the judiciary and have  already  been  determined  by
this Court in its judgment dated 27.02.2006.

      (b)   2006 Amendment Act is beyond the legislative competence  of  the
State of Kerala insofar as it  affects  the  Mullaperiyar  dam  in  view  of
Section 108 of the SR Act which is a law made by Parliament  under  Articles
3 and 4 of the Constitution, which confer  plenary  power  to  traverse  all
legislative entries in all the three lists including Entry 17 List II.

       (c)    The  impugned  legislation,  in   its   application   to   the
Mullaperiyar dam, violates the rule of law and  the  federal  structure  and
the  separation  of  power  under  the  Constitution.   The   Kerala   State
Legislature has taken the law in its own hands after the declaration of  law
by this Court.  Kerala  having  participated  in  the  adjudicatory  process
before this Court cannot become a  Judge  in  its  own  cause  and  seek  to
reverse the decision of this Court because it has gone against it.

      (d)   The impugned legislation not only fixes and limits the  FRL   to
136 ft. in direct contravention of the  judgment  of  this  Court  but  also
proceeds to authorise the Dam Safety Authority of Kerala –  to  disobey  and
disregard  the  decision  of  this  Court  by  the  following,  among  other
provisions:

          • Section 62(1)(e) empowers the authority to direct the suspension
            or restriction of the functioning of any dam or decommissioning.

          • Section 62A(1)  read  with  Second  Schedule  is  a  legislative
            judgment that the Mullaperiyar dam is endangered on  account  of
            its age, degradation, structural or other impediments and limits
            the water level to 136 ft.

          • Sub-section (2) prohibits increase of water level fixed  in  the
            Second Schedule notwithstanding any judgment, decree or order of
            any court or any other law or any treaty,  contract,  agreement,
            instrument  or  document  except  and  in  accordance  with  the
            provisions of the Act.

          • Sub-section (3) also contains a non-obstante clause and requires
            prior consent in writing of the authority for increasing storage
            capacity and for doing any act or work for such purpose.

          • Sub-section (4) directs any act or work for preparation  by  any
            executant to stop the work immediately and to apply for  consent
            of the authority.

          • Section 68A protects the authority and any officer  or  employee
            from any suit, prosecution or other legal proceedings in respect
            of anything done under the Act and also ousts  the  jurisdiction
            of civil courts.

          • 2006 (Amendment) Act is not a validation act but a  mere  device
            to defy, obstruct and nullify the judgment  of  this  Court  and
            constitutionally interfere  with,  restrict  or  extinguish  the
            legal  rights  of  Tamil  Nadu  as  upheld  by  this  Court.   A
            Legislature cannot by mere declaration  and  enactment  overrule
            and nullify a judicial decision. The direct object and effect of
            the impugned legislation is to overturn  the  judgment  of  this
            Court and to arrogate to Kerala the power to prevent Tamil  Nadu
            from exercising its legal rights which have already been  upheld
            by this Court.

19.         On the above grounds, Tamil Nadu  has  sought  two-fold  relief,
(i) to declare the 2006 (Amendment) Act passed by the Kerala legislature  as
unconstitutional in its application to and effect on  the  Mullaperiyar  dam
and (ii) to pass a decree of  permanent  injunction  restraining  the  first
defendant from applying and enforcing the impugned  legislation  interfering
with or obstructing the plaintiff  from increasing the water  level  to  142
ft. and from carrying out the repair works  as  per  the  judgment  of  this
Court dated 27.02.2006 in W. P. (Civil)  No.  386  of  2001  with  connected
matters. The Union of India has been impleaded as defendant  no.  2  in  the
suit.

Defence by Kerala
20.         Kerala has traversed the claim of Tamil Nadu on merits  and  has
also raised objections about  the  maintainability  of  the  suit.  Kerala’s
defence is that the 1886 Lease Agreement for  999  years  lapsed  under  the
provisions of Section 7(1)(b) of the Indian Independence Act, 1947 (“Act  of
1947”). From 1947 to 26.01.1950, the lease  was  continued  as  a  temporary
lease on annual basis. After 26.01.1950, even the temporary continuation  of
the lease  came to an end. The possession of the land held and continued  by
the then Government of Madras and now Tamil Nadu, after  26.01.1950  has  no
juridical basis.
21.         Kerala states that 1886 Lease Agreement, on the basis  of  which
Tamil Nadu has laid its claim, is an unconscionable contract because of  its
duration (999 years) as well as the fact that the lease conveys for a  small
rent a vital resource of Kerala. The lease was obtained by the Secretary  of
State for India in England obviously by holding threat of  paramountcy  over
Maharaja of Travancore, who was his vassal.
22.         As regards the  two  supplemental  agreements  of  1970,  Kerala
states that these agreements have not been executed in  terms  of  mandatory
provisions of Article 299 of the Constitution and, therefore,  they  do  not
constitute contracts in the eye of law. In any event,  these  agreements  do
not bind the State legislature at all.
23.          About  2006  (Amendment)  Act,  it  is   stated   that   Kerala
legislature enacted the Act regulating the storage levels of 22 dams  listed
in the Second Schedule read  with  Section  62A  (1),  as  these  dams  fall
entirely within the territory of  Kerala and these dams  are  considered  to
be  endangered  on  account  of  their   age,   degeneration,   degradation,
structural or other impediments. Kerala states that such  law  is  perfectly
valid.  Under Section 62A(3) of the 2006 (Amendment) Act,  the  FRL  can  be
increased beyond 136 ft. after obtaining prior consent  of  the  Dam  Safety
Authority headed by a retired  Judge  of  the  High  Court.  If  Tamil  Nadu
approaches under Section 62A(3), Kerala reserves its right  to  oppose  such
plea by demonstrating how such increase would lead to  spread  of  backwater
beyond the contour line of 155 ft. and how the  flora  and  fauna  including
ecology would be destroyed. The impact of increased storages on  the  safety
of the dam will also be demonstrated before the Dam Safety Authority.   This
was not the matter that was required to be considered by this Court  in  the
previous case, since in that case, the focal issue was the  implications  of
the increase in height upon the  safety  and  integrity  of  the  dam.  2006
(Amendment) Act creates a working mechanism to  deal  with  a  problem  like
displacement of  those  whose  lands  are  likely  to  be  affected  by  the
backwater effect.
24.          The  competency  of  Kerala  legislature   to  enact  the  2006
(Amendment) Act is sought to be justified by relying upon   Entries  17  and
18 of List II (State List) and Entries 17, 17-A and 17-B of  the  Concurrent
List of the Seventh Schedule to the Constitution. Kerala  also  states  that
it is competent for the Kerala legislature to modify the terms of the  lease
in public interest (if the lease has survived  as  contended  by  the  Tamil
Nadu), as the lease inherited under Article 295  of  the  Constitution  does
not bind the legislature of the state and that it  is  always  open  to  the
legislature to modify such conditions by law.
25.         As regards structure of the Mullaperiyar dam, Kerala’s stand  is
that it is not constructed entirely with rubble masonry in lime mortar.  The
front and rear faces are constructed of uncoursed  rubble  masonry  in  lime
mortar. The hearting (center core) is of lime  surkhi  concrete,  therefore,
dam  cannot  be  considered   as   homogeneous   masonry   dam   under   any
circumstances. In view of Kerala, a dam could never have  been  intended  to
remain for long years without decommissioning at some  point  of  time.  For
this background, people in Kerala living in the  downstream  region  of  the
Mullaperiyar dam have raised serious apprehensions  against  the  safety  of
the structure.
26.         Kerala has denied that river Periyar is  an  inter-state  river.
It has asserted that river Periyar is an intra-state river as  it  rises  in
Quilon District in Kerala  and  traverses  only  through  the  territory  of
Kerala before falling into the Arabian sea. The total catchment  of  Periyar
basin is  5398 sq. km. of which only about 113 or 114  sq.  km.  lie  within
the territory of Tamil Nadu. Even this small catchment of 113 sq. km.  lying
in Tamil Nadu,  is  in  the  downstream  region  of  the  Mullaperiyar  dam.
Therefore, no water from this catchment  is  contributed  to  the  kitty  of
Mullaperiyar dam.
27.         As regards the earlier judgment of this  Court,  Kerala’s  stand
is that the judgment concluded the issue relating to safety  of  the  people
and degradation of the environment, apart from issue  arising  from  Article
363 of the Constitution. The doctrine of res judicata  or  constructive  res
judicata  has  no  relevance  to  the  question  of  powers  on  the  Kerala
legislature to regulate the storage level of the Mullaperiyar dam in  larger
public interest by legislation. Kerala states that the impugned  legislation
removes the legal basis of the judgment, i.e., the right of  Tamil  Nadu  to
store water up to 142 ft. in  Mullaperiyar  reservoir.  The  legislature  is
competent to remove the basis of any judgment  and,  therefore,  it  is  not
permissible  for  Tamil  Nadu  to  claim  any  right  to  store   water   at
Mullaperiyar dam beyond  136  ft.  Kerala  has  assailed  the  findings  and
conclusions in  the  earlier  judgment  dated  27.02.2006  on  all  possible
grounds.
28.         Kerala has raised the objection  about  maintainability  of  the
present suit under Article 131 of the Constitution of India.   According  to
Kerala, because the basis of claim made by  Tamil  Nadu  lies  in  the  1886
Lease Agreement which is a contractual right leading to  civil  dispute,  if
any, but it is not in dispute in  the  constitutional  context  as  required
under Article 131 of the Constitution of India.  Kerala’s  further  case  is
that 1886 Lease Agreement was executed between the  Maharaja  of  Travancore
and Secretary of State for India in England and as such the agreement is  in
the nature of treaty and act of state, the enforcement of  which  is  barred
by proviso to Article  131  of  the  Constitution.  Tamil  Nadu,  therefore,
cannot seek enforcement of 1886 lease deed before this Court.
29.         Kerala has also challenged the report of  the  Expert  Committee
for assessing the structural safety of the dam that was relied upon by  this
Court in its judgment on 27.02.2006.    Kerala says that  both  the  interim
report and final report submitted by the Expert Committee are  riddled  with
inconsistencies and  the  views  of  the  Committee  do  not  constitute  an
authoritative opinion. Kerala has denied that storages at  Mullaperiyar  dam
beyond 136 ft. will not pose any danger.
30.         Kerala states that the storage at Mullaperiyar  dam  beyond  136
ft. would not be required to meet the  irrigation  requirement  of  2,08,144
acres in 5  southern  districts  of  Tamil  Nadu,  although  the  irrigation
originally planned was not more than 1.5 lakh acres. Kerala has  denied  the
contention of Tamil Nadu that due to non-restoration of FRL  from  136  ft.,
Tamil Nadu’s irrigation is getting  suffered.  According  to  Kerala,  Tamil
Nadu was able to irrigate more area  with  Mullaperiyar  water,  even  after
lowering the water level to 136 ft.
31.         Kerala has, thus, prayed  that  suit  filed  by  Tamil  Nadu  be
dismissed with costs.

Issues
32.         On  13.12.2007,  the  Court  framed  the  following  issues  for
consideration in the suit:
      “1.   Whether the suit  is  maintainable  under  Article  131  of  the
      Constitution of India.

      2.    (a)   Whether  the  Kerala  Irrigation  and  Water  Conservation
           (Amendment) Act 2006 is unconstitutional and ultra vires, in its
           application to and effect on the Mullai Periyar Dam?

            (b)   Whether plaintiff is entitled to  a  permanent  injunction
           restraining the first defendant from applying and enforcing  the
           Kerala Irrigation and Water Conservation (Amendment)  Act,  2006
           with reference to Mullai Periyar Dam?

      3.    Whether the rights of the plaintiff, crystalised in the Judgment
      dated 27.02.2006 passed by this Court in WP(C)  No.  386/2001  can  be
      nullified by a legislation made by the Kerala State Legislature?

      4.    (a)   Whether the judgment dated  27.2.2006  of  this  Court  in
           WP(C) No. 386/2001 operated as res judicata, in respect  of  all
           or any of the defences set up by  the  first  defendant  in  its
           written statement?

            (b)   Whether the pleas relating to validity and binding  nature
           of the deed dated  29.10.1886,  the  nature  of  Periyar  River,
           structural safety of Mullai Periyar Dam etc. raised by the first
           defendant in its defence, are finally decided by the judgment of
           this  Court  dated  27.2.2006  in  WP(C)   No.   386/2001,   and
           consequently  first  defendant  is  barred   from   raising   or
           reagitating  those  issues  and  pleas  in  this  suit,  by  the
           principle of res judicata and constructive res judicata?

      5.    Whether the suit based on a legal right claimed under the  lease
      deed executed between the Government of the Maharaja of Travancore and
      the Secretary of State for India  on  29.10.1886,  is  barred  by  the
      proviso to Article 131 of the Constitution of India?

      6.    Whether the first defendant is estopped from  raising  the  plea
      that the deed dated 29.10.1886  has  lapsed,  in  view  of  subsequent
      conduct of the first  defendant  and  execution  of  the  supplemental
      agreements dated 29.05.1970 ratifying the various  provisions  of  the
      original Deed dated 29.10.1886.

      7.    Whether the lease deed executed between the  Government  of  the
      Maharaja of Travancore and Secretary of State for India on  29.10.1886
      is valid, binding on first  defendant  and  enforceable  by  plaintiff
      against the first defendant.

      8.    Whether the first defendant is  estopped  from  contending  that
      Periyar River is not an inter-State river.

      9.    Whether the offer of the first defendant, to construct a new dam
      across River Periyar in the downstream region of  Mullai  Periyar  Dam
      would meet the ends of justice and requirements of plaintiff.

      10.   Whether the first defendant  can  obstruct  the  plaintiff  from
      increasing the water level of Mullai Periyar Dam to 142 ft.  and  from
      carrying out repair works as per the judgment dated 27.2.2006 of  this
      Court in WP(C) No. 386/2001.

      11.   To what relief is the plaintiff entitled to?”



Documentary and oral evidence by the parties
33.         The admission/denial of documents tendered by  the  parties  was
completed on 16.05.2008. Documents Ex. P1 to Ex. P44 tendered by Tamil  Nadu
were admitted by Kerala and documents Ex. D1 to D17 tendered by Kerala  were
admitted by Tamil Nadu. Tamil Nadu’s documents Ex. XP1 to XP4  and  Kerala’s
documents Ex. XD1 to XD24 were denied by the other side.
34.         As regards oral evidence, Tamil  Nadu  produced  R.  Subramanian
(PW-1) as the  sole  witness.  On  the  other  hand,  Kerala  produced  five
witnesses, V.K. Mahanudevan (DW-1), K. Jayakumar  (DW-2),  Dr.  A.K.  Gosain
(DW-3), Dr. Dhrubajyoti Ghosh (DW-4) and M.K. Parameswaran Nair (DW-5).

Reference to the 5-Judge Constitution Bench
35.         Initially, the matter was  heard  by  a  three-Judge  Bench.  On
10.11.2009, matter was referred to the Constitution Bench  as  some  of  the
issues  framed  in  the  suit  involved  decision  on  certain   substantial
questions of law concerning  interpretation  of  the  Constitution  and   in
particular:

      (i)   Articles 3 and 4 read with Article 246 of the Constitution;
      (ii)        Article 131 read with Article 32 of the  Constitution  (in
           the        context of res-judicata);
      iii) Proviso to Article 131 read with Articles 295  and  363  of  the
           Constitution and the effect of the Constitution (26th Amendment)
           Act, 1971; and
       iv)  The  effect  of  decision  of  this   Court   in   Mullaperiyar
           Environmental Protection Forum1 in the context of afore-referred
           constitutional provisions.

Constitution of the Empowered Committee (EC)
36.         A very important development occurred when the matter was  taken
up initially by the Constitution Bench.  It was  felt  by  the  Constitution
Bench that examination of all aspects of  the  matter  including  safety  of
Mullaperiyar dam by an Empowered  Committee  (EC)  may  help  the  Court  in
deciding  the  matter   effectively.   Accordingly,   on   18.02.2010,   the
Constitution Bench directed the  Central  Government  to  constitute  an  EC
under the Chairmanship of Dr. A.S. Anand, former Chief Justice of India  and
comprising of two members nominated by the States of Kerala and  Tamil  Nadu
and two renowned technical experts. The EC was requested to hear parties  to
the suit on all issues that may be raised before it, without  being  limited
to the issues that have been raised before  the  Court  in  the  matter  and
furnish  a  report  as  far  as  possible  within  six   months   from   its
constitution. It was left open to the EC to  frame  its  own  procedure  and
issue appropriate directions as to the hearings as  well  as  venue  of  its
sittings and it was also left to the EC to receive such further evidence  as
it considered appropriate. It was, however, clarified  that  the  legal  and
constitutional issues including validity of  the  2006  Amendment  Act,  are
matters that would be considered by the Court.
37.         The EC submitted status reports from time to time. The time  for
giving final report was extended also.  The  report  was  submitted  by  the
Empowered Committee finally on 23.04.2012.

General observation
38.         As a general observation, before we embark upon  the  discussion
on diverse issues, it must be stated, that a suit of this nature cannot  and
ought not to be decided with very technical approach  insofar  as  pleadings
and procedure are concerned.  A suit filed in original jurisdiction of  this
Court is not governed by the procedure prescribed in  Civil  Procedure  Code
save and except the procedure which has been expressly  made  applicable  by
the Supreme Court Rules.  It is also important to  bear  in  mind  that  the
contest between the states is to be settled in the large and ample way  that
alone  becomes  the  dignity  of  litigants  concerned  (State   of   Andhra
Pradesh[3]). Unfortunately, there is a sharp conflict over  each  and  every
aspect of the subject matter between the contesting states. Even in  respect
of the report submitted by the EC chaired by a former Chief Justice of  this
Court, one nominee each of the two states who  are  former  judges  of  this
Court and two renowned technical experts,  the  two  states  have  different
views although EC has submitted its report after a very tedious  and  minute
consideration of  facts  on  the  safety  of  the  Mullaperiyar  dam,  which
embraced the reports of tests, investigation and technical  studies  carried
out through the three apex organizations, besides through  other  specialist
organizations of the Government of India and specialist expert agencies  and
also  after  site  appraisal.  Moreover,  the  investigations,   tests   and
technical studies were directed to be carried out by the EC  in  association
with the representatives of both the States.

Issue Nos. 1, 5, 6 and 7.
39.         These four issues are interrelated  inasmuch  as  two  of  these
issues relate to validity and binding nature of  1886  Lease  Agreement  and
the effect of 1970 supplemental agreements and the other two issues  concern
maintainability of suit under Article 131, if 1886 Lease Agreement  is  held
valid, binding and enforceable. Extensive arguments have been  addressed  to
us by the learned senior counsel for the two contesting  states  in  respect
of these issues.  However, it must be noted immediately that Kerala did  not
dispute the position that under Section 177 of the Government of India  Act,
1935 existing contracts made by the Secretary of State prior to  1935  (made
for the purposes of the Government of a Province) would have  effect  as  if
they were made on  behalf  of  that  Province.  In  view  of  this  admitted
position by Kerala, we shall first see whether 1886 Lease Agreement  was  an
existing contract made for the purposes of the  Government  of  Province  of
Madras on the commencement of 1935 Act.

1886 Lease Agreement – whether an existing contract under 1935 Act

40.         The Madras Presidency (Fort St. George) was established  by  the
Pitts Act, 1784. Thereafter, by the  Government  of  India  Act,  1858,  the
territories under the Government of East India Company were transferred  for
being vested in Her Majesty.  Under this enactment, the Secretary  of  State
in Council was empowered to enter into contracts. By  the  1859  (Amendment)
Act, the British Parliament authorised the Governor in Council of  Fort  St.
George to enter  into  contracts  referred  to  as  Secretary  of  State  in
Council. 1886 Lease Agreement was entered  into  between  the  Secretary  of
State  in  Council  and  Maharaja  of  Travancore  under   this   provision.
Government of India Act, 1919 did not alter the position with regard to  the
1886 Lease Agreement since Presidency of Fort  St.  George  was  treated  as
Province for the purposes of local government. By virtue of  Section  46  of
the 1935 Act, the Presidency of Fort St. George which was  deemed  to  be  a
Province under 1919 Act became Governor’s Province of Madras.
41.         Section 177 of the  1935  Act,  omitting  the  unnecessary  part
reads, “…..any contract made before the commencement of  Part  III  of  this
Act by, or on behalf of, the Secretary of State in Council  shall,  as  from
that date – (a) if it was  made  for  the  purposes  which  will  after  the
commencement of Part III of this Act be purposes  of  the  Government  of  a
Province, have effect as if it had been made on behalf  of  that  Province…”
By virtue of this provision, the existing  contracts  of  the  Secretary  of
State in Council would have the effect as if they had been  made  on  behalf
of the Province. When we see 1886 Lease Agreement in light  of  Section  177
of the 1935 Act, there remains no doubt at all that lease that was  executed
by the Secretary of State in Council for the Presidency  of  Madras  (Madras
Province) had the effect as if it had been made on behalf of the  Presidency
of Madras or for that matter Madras Province.  To  put  it  differently,  by
legal fiction created under Section  177(1)(a),  the  Presidency  of  Madras
(Madras Province) became lessee under the 1886  Lease  Agreement.  We  have,
therefore, no hesitation in accepting the submission  of  Mr.  Vinod  Bobde,
learned senior counsel for Tamil Nadu that by virtue of Section 177  of  the
1935 Act, as from the commencement of the 1935 Act, the  Government  of  the
Province of Madras is deemed to be substituted as the  lessee  in  the  1886
Lease Agreement.

Effect and impact of events between 18.07.1947 and 26.01.1950
42.         In light of the above holding, we have to  see  the  effect  and
impact of certain events that occurred between 18.07.1947 (when Act of  1947
was enacted by British Parliament) and 26.01.1950 (the date of  commencement
of Constitution).
42.1.       On  18.07.1947,  a  bulletin  was  issued  by  the  Maharaja  of
Travancore State denouncing all agreements.
42.2.       On 22.07.1947, the Dewan of Travancore is said  to  have  stated
in his notes submitted to the Maharaja  that  in  his  discussion  with  the
Viceroy, he had unequivocally denounced the 1886 Lease  Agreement  and  that
the Viceroy had accepted the good sense underlying the denouncement.
42.3.       On  10.08.1947,  in  his  letter,  Mr.  C.C.  Desai,  Additional
Secretary gave an assurance that all agreements would be renegotiated.
42.4.       On 12.08.1947, Instrument  of  Accession  was  executed  by  the
Ruler of Travancore declaring that Travancore has acceded  to  the  Dominion
of India.
42.5.       Following Instrument  of  Accession,  on  12.08.1947  itself,  a
standstill agreement was entered into between State of  Travancore  and  the
Dominion of India.
42.6.       On 14.08.1947, India (Provisional Constitution) Order, 1947  was
promulgated whereby, inter alia, Section 177 of the 1935 Act was omitted.
42.7.       On 15.08.1947, Act of 1947 came into effect.
42.8.       On 24.05.1949, the two States – Travancore and Cochin  –  merged
together.





Whether 1886 Lease Agreement lapsed?
43.         Mr. Harish N. Salve, learned senior counsel for Kerala, in  view
of the above events submits that 1886 Lease Agreement  lapsed  and  did  not
survive on and from 15.08.1947.
44.         By Act of 1947, the provisions  were  made  for  setting  up  in
India of two  Indian  dominions  to  be  known  respectively  as  India  and
Pakistan from 15.08.1947. Section 7 of Act of 1947 reads as follows :
           “7.   Consequences of the setting up of the  new  Dominions.—(1)
      As from the appointed day—


           (a)  His Majesty’s Government in  the  United  Kingdom  have  no
      responsibility as respects the government of any  of  the  territories
      which, immediately before that day, were included in British India;

           (b)   the suzerainty of  His  Majesty  over  the  Indian  States
      lapses, and with it, all treaties and agreements in force at the  date
      of the passing of this Act between  His  Majesty  and  the  rulers  of
      Indian States, all functions exercisable by His Majesty at  that  date
      with respect to Indian States, all obligations of His Majesty existing
      at that date towards Indian States or  the  rulers  thereof,  and  all
      powers, rights, authority or jurisdiction exercisable by  His  Majesty
      at that date in or in relation to  Indian  States  by  treaty,  grant,
      usage, sufferance or otherwise; and

           (c)   there lapse also any treaties or agreements  in  force  at
      the date of the passing of  this  Act  between  His  Majesty  and  any
      persons having authority in the tribal areas, any obligations  of  His
      Majesty existing at that date to any such persons or with  respect  to
      the tribal areas, and all powers, rights,  authority  or  jurisdiction
      exercisable at that date of His Majesty  in  or  in  relation  to  the
      tribal areas by treaty, grant, usage, sufferance or otherwise:

           Provided that, notwithstanding  anything  in  paragraph  (b)  or
      paragraph (c) of this sub-section, effect shall, as nearly as  may  be
      continued to be given to the provisions of any such  agreement  as  is
      therein  referred  to   which   relate   to   customs,   transit   and
      communications, posts and telegraphs, or other like matters, until the
      provisions in question are denounced by the ruler of the Indian  State
      or person having authority in the tribal areas on the one hand, or  by
      the Dominion or Province or other part thereof concerned on the  other
      hand, or are superseded by subsequent agreements.
      (2)   …………….”
45.         As noted above, Act of 1947 came into  effect  from  15.08.1947.
Section 7 deals  with  the  consequences  of  the  setting  up  of  the  new
dominions. Clause  (b)  of  sub-section  (1)  of  Section  7  declares  that
suzerainty of His Majesty over the  Indian  States  lapses.  On  lapsing  of
suzerainty, it provides for lapsing of all treaties and agreements in  force
between His Majesty and the Rulers of Indian States from that date.  Proviso
appended to sub-section (1), however, continues such agreements  unless  the
provisions in such agreement are denounced by the Ruler of the Indian  State
or are superseded by a subsequent agreement.
46.         It is the contention of Mr. Harish N. Salve that  firstly,  1886
Lease Agreement lapsed by virtue of main provision  of  Section  7(1)(b)  of
the Act of 1947 as it comprehends all treaties and agreements and  secondly,
the Maharaja of Travancore denounced all  agreements  including  1886  Lease
Agreement.
47.         It is true that Section 7(1)(b) of Act  of  1947  Act  uses  the
expression “all treaties and agreements”  but,  in  our  opinion,  the  word
“all” is not intended to cover the agreements which  are  not  political  in
nature. This is clear from the purpose  of   Section  7  as  it  deals  with
lapsing of suzerainty  of  His  Majesty  over  the  Indian  States  and  the
consequence of lapsing of  suzerainty.  Obviously,  the  provision  was  not
intended to cover the agreements and  treaties  other  than  political.  We,
accordingly,  hold  that  Section  7(1)(b)  concerns  only  with   political
treaties and agreements.
48.         The nature of  1886  Lease  Agreement  being  not  political  is
already  concluded  by   this   Court   in   2006   judgment   (Mullaperiyar
Environmental Protection Forum1). This Court has held therein – and we  have
no justifiable reason to take a different view – that 1886  Lease  Agreement
is an ordinary agreement being a lease  agreement  and  it  is  wholly  non-
political in nature.
49.         There is, thus, no merit in the contention  advanced  on  behalf
of Kerala that 1886 Lease Agreement  lapsed  under  the  main  provision  of
Section 7(1)(b) of 1947 Act.
50.           Now, for consideration of  the  other  limb  of  the  argument
addressed to us by Mr. Harish N. Salve that even otherwise, the Maharaja  of
Travancore denounced all agreements including 1886 Lease  Agreement,  it  is
necessary  to  refer  to  the  proviso  appended  to  Section  7(1)(b).  The
expression “denounced by the Ruler of  the  Indian  State”  in  the  proviso
appended to Section 7, in our opinion, refers  to  unambiguous,  unequivocal
and express denouncement. Kerala has not produced any material  or  document
to show that there was express denouncement of that nature by the  Ruler  of
Travancore insofar as 1886 Lease Agreement is concerned.  We  do  not  think
that the bulletin issued on 18.07.1947  clearly  or  finally  denounced  the
1886 Lease Agreement.
51.         Moreover, to be  a  valid  and  effective  denouncement  of  the
agreement between the Ruler and His Majesty such denouncement must  be  made
after 1947 Act came into effect. Admittedly, there  is  no  denouncement  of
1886 Lease Agreement by the Travancore Ruler after 15.08.1947.
52.          The  relevant  portion  of  the  standstill   agreement   dated
12.08.1947 reads as follows:
    “Agreement between the State of Travancore and the Dominion of India


           Whereas it is to the benefit and advantage of  the  Dominion  of
      India as well as of the Indian States  that  existing  agreements  and
      administrative arrangements in the matters of common  concern,  should
      continue for the time being, between the Dominion of India or any part
      thereof and the Indian States :
           Now therefore it is agreed between the Travancore State and  the
      Dominion of India that:-
        1. (1)    Until  new  agreements  in  this  behalf  are  made,  all
              agreements and administrative arrangements as to  matters  of
              common concern now existing between the Crown and any  Indian
              State shall, in so far as may  be  appropriate,  continue  as
              between the Dominion of India or as the case may be, the part
              thereof and the State.
              (2)      In  particular,  and  without  derogation  from  the
              generality of sub-clause  (1)  of  this  clause  the  matters
              referred to above shall include the matters specified in  the
              Schedule to this Agreement.”


53.         It is  argued  by  Mr.  Harish  N.  Salve  that  the  standstill
agreement, which is between parties different from those  who  had  executed
the 1886 Lease Agreement, is a fresh agreement  which  brought  into  force,
for  the  time  being,  contractual  obligations  between  the  Maharaja  of
Travancore and the Dominion of India.  As the  parties  were  different  and
the Act of 1947 provided for the lapse of the British  suzerainty  over  the
Princely States, the question of continuance of 1886  lease  agreement  does
not arise.  In any case, learned  senior  counsel  for  Kerala  argues  that
standstill agreement could not survive after the deletion of Section 177  of
the 1935  Act.   We  find  no  merit  in  these  arguments.  The  standstill
agreement is not a fresh agreement between Dominion of India  and  State  of
Travancore as suggested by Mr. Harish N.  Salve.  The  standstill  agreement
was intended for the  benefit  of  the  parties  who  were  parties  to  the
agreements and arrangements, which were matters of common  concern  existing
between the Crown and  the  State  of  Travancore.   In  the  background  of
Instrument of Accession, it became necessary to  have  some  arrangement  so
that the existing agreements and arrangements  between  the  Crown  and  the
Indian States continued.  We do  not  think  that  standstill  agreement  is
political in nature as contended on behalf of Kerala.
54.         The argument that standstill agreement could not  survive  after
the deletion of Section 177 with effect from 15.08.1947 by virtue  of  India
(Provisional Constitution) Order, 1947 is also without  substance.   Section
177 was deleted because it could no longer  work  and  because  Dominion  of
India was to come into being with provinces as  part  of  the  Dominion  and
there was to be no Secretary of State in Council.  We are in agreement  with
Mr. Vinod Bobde, learned senior counsel for  Tamil  Nadu  that  deletion  of
Section 177 was prospective and it did  not  affect  the  deeming  that  had
already taken place in 1935.  The standstill agreement, in our view,  cannot
be said to have been wiped out by the deletion of Section 177.
55.         Mr. Harish N. Salve is right in submitting  that  under  Section
177 existing contracts made by the Secretary of State prior  to  1935  would
have effect as if they were made on behalf of the concerned Province and  by
virtue of this provision, the Province  of  Madras  was   a  beneficiary  of
standstill agreement but he does not seem to be right   when  he  says  that
this  situation  changed  on  14.08.1947   when   the   India   (Provisional
Constitution) Order, 1947 was issued and the  standstill  agreement  arrived
at on 12.08.1947 ceased to be for the benefit of  Province  of  Madras.   As
stated by us earlier, the deletion of Section 177  is  prospective  and  did
not undo what had already taken place.  This also negates  the  argument  of
Mr. Salve that the rights of the Crown, which were enjoyed by  the  Province
of Madras under Section 177, on deletion of the said Section   had  come  to
an end as there was no successor to the  Crown.
56.         The argument that there is no successor of Crown  is  irrelevant
because by virtue of Section 177, the Government of Province of  Madras  had
already become lessee in  the  1886  Lease  Agreement  by  deeming  in  1935
itself.  The standstill agreement continued  1886  Lease  Agreement  between
the Province of Madras and the State of Travancore.   1886  Lease  Agreement
did not lapse under the main provision of Section  7(i)(b)  of  the  Act  of
1947.  There was no unequivocal and unambiguous denouncement of  1886  Lease
Agreement by the Ruler of Travancore under proviso to Section 7(i)(b).   The
Province of Madras was beneficiary of  the  standstill  agreement.   Surely,
deletion of Section 177 has not affected the rights  of Province of  Madras.

57.         Relying upon Babu Ram Saksena[4], it  is  vehemently  argued  by
Mr. Harish N. Salve, learned senior counsel for Kerala that upon  merger  of
two states – Travancore and Cochin – in 1949 all treaties  entered  into  by
the  Rulers  of  erstwhile  states  lapsed.  His  submission  is  that   the
standstill  agreement,  whether  it  was  an  independent  agreement  or  in
continuation of 1886 Lease Agreement, came to an end in light of  the  legal
position exposited in Babu Ram Saksena4.  Learned  senior  counsel  in  this
regard also relied upon the decision of this  Court  in  State  of  Himachal
Pradesh[5].

Babu Ram Saksena
58.         Let us carefully consider  Babu  Ram  Saksena4.   The  facts  in
Babu Ram Saksena4  were as follows:  Babu Ram Saksena was a member of  Uttar
Pradesh Civil Service and served Tonk State in various  capacities.  It  was
alleged that during service, he helped the Nawab of Tonk  in  obtaining  the
sanction of the Government of India to the payment of Rs.14,00,000/- to  the
Nawab out of State treasury for the discharge of his debts, and induced  the
Nawab by threats and deception to pay him, in return  for  such  help,  sums
totaling Rs.3,00,000/- on various dates. Dr. Babu Ram  Saksena  was  charged
with the offences under Sections 383, 575 and 420 of the Indian Penal  Code.
These offences were extraditable offences under the Indian Extradition  Act,
1903 (for short, ‘1903 Act’). The warrant was issued under Section 7 of  the
1903 Act to  the  District  Magistrate,  Nainital,  where  the  accused  was
residing after reverting to the service of the Uttar Pradesh Government,  to
arrest and deliver him up to the District Magistrate of  Tonk.  The  accused
raised defences on merits as well as to the  validity  of  the  warrant  and
challenged  the  jurisdiction  of  the  Magistrate  at  Nainital   to   take
cognizance of the matter and arrest the appellant. The High Court  overruled
all the objections and dismissed the application  for  the  release  of  the
appellant.  The  matter  was  carried  to  this  Court.   Inter  alia,   the
contention on behalf of the appellant before this Court was that the  treaty
entered  into  between  the  British  Government  and  the  Tonk  state   on
28.01.1869, although declared by Section 7 of the 1947 Act, to  have  lapsed
as from 15.08.1947 was  continued  in  force  by  the  standstill  agreement
entered into on  08.08.1947;  that  that  treaty  exclusively  governed  all
matters relating to extradition between the two states, and  that,  inasmuch
as it did not cover the offences  now  charged  against  the  appellant,  no
extradition of the appellant could be  demanded  or  ordered.  The  Attorney
General, on the other hand, responded  by  contending  that  the  standstill
agreement entered into with various  Indian  States  were  purely  temporary
arrangements designed to maintain the status quo ante in respect of  certain
administrative matters of common concern  pending  the  accession  of  those
States to the Dominion of India and they were superseded by  the  instrument
of Accession executed by the Rulers of those states.   Tonk  having  acceded
to the Dominion on 16.08.1947, the standstill agreement  relied  on  by  the
appellant must be taken to have lapsed as  from  that  date.  Secondly,  the
treaty was no longer subsisting and its execution became impossible, as  the
Tonk State ceased to accede  politically  and  as  such  sovereignty  as  it
possessed was extinguished, when it covenanted with  certain  other  states,
with the concurrence of the Indian Government “to unite and integrate  their
territories in  one  state,  with  the  common  executive,  legislature  and
judiciary, by the name of the United State of Rajasthan”, the last  of  such
covenants which superseded the earlier ones, having  been  entered  into  on
13.03.1949. Lastly, it was argued by the Attorney General  that  the  treaty
was still in operation as a binding executory contract  and  its  provisions
were in no way derogated from by the application of Section 7  of  the  1903
Act in the extradition warrant issued under  that  Section  and  the  arrest
made in pursuance thereof were legal and valid and could not  be  called  in
question under Section 491 of the Code of Criminal Procedure.
59.         It is  important  to  note  that  in   Babu  Ram  Saksena4,  two
opinions have been given by this Court, one by Patanjali Sastri, J. and  the
other by Mukherjea, J.  Insofar as Patanjali Sastri, J.  is  concerned,  His
Lordship did not give any opinion on the first  two  contentions  raised  by
the Attorney General. This is clear when Patanjali Sastri, J. said,  “As  we
are clearly of the opinion that the appellant’s  contentions  must  fail  on
this last ground, we consider it  unnecessary  to  pronounce  on  the  other
points raised by the Attorney General especially as the issues involved  are
not purely legal but also of a political character, and we have not had  the
views  of  the  accused  concerned  on  those  points”.  Having  said  that,
Patanjali Sastri, J.  considered  the  question  whether  extradition  under
Section 7 of the 1903 Act for an offence which  is  not  extraditable  under
the treaty is, in any sense, a derogation from the provisions of the  treaty
which provides for  the  extradition  of  offenders  for  certain  specified
offences committed in the respective territories  of  the  high  contracting
parties.
59.1.       In the other opinion given  by  Mukherjea,  J.  as  regards  the
question, how far was the Extradition Treaty between the Tonk State and  the
British Government affected by reason of the merger of the Tonk State  along
with eight other States in view of a covenant entered into by the Rulers  of
these nine States, into the United State of  Rajasthan,  it  has  been  held
that as a result of amalgamation or merger,  a  State  loses  its  full  and
independent power of action over the subject matter of a  treaty  previously
concluded, the treaty must lapse.  Mukherjea, J.  noted  Article  6  of  the
merger and the general opinion of the  international  jurists  that  when  a
State  relinquishes  its  life  as  such  through  incorporation   into   or
absorption by another State either voluntarily or as a  result  of  conquest
or annexation, the treaties of  the  former  are  automatically  terminated.
Mukherjea, J. observed as follows:
      "………..The result is said to be produced by reason of complete loss  of
      personality  consequent  on  extinction  of  State  life.  The   cases
      discussed in this connection are  generally  cases  where  independent
      States have  ceased  to  be  such  through  constrained  or  voluntary
      absorption by  another  with  attendant  extinction  of  the  former's
      treaties with  other  States.  Thus  the  forceable  incorporation  of
      Hanover into the Prussian Kingdom destroyed the previous  treaties  of
      Hanover. The admission of Texas into the United States of  America  by
      joint resolution extinguished the Treaties of the Independent Republic
      of Texas. The position is the  same  when  Korea  merged  into  Japan.
      According to Oppenheim, whose opinion has  been  relied  upon  by  Sir
      Alladi, no succession of rights and duties ordinarily takes  place  in
      such cases, and as political  and  personal  treaties  presuppose  the
      existence of a contracting State, they are altogether extinguished. It
      is a debatable point  whether  succession  takes  place  in  cases  of
      treaties relating to  commerce  or  extradition  but  here  again  the
      majority of writers are of opinion that they do not survive merger  or
      annexation”


59.2.       The above observations of Mukherjea, J. were based  on  the  two
renowned books, (one) Hyde on International Law,  Vol.  III,  Pg.  1529  and
(two) Oppenheim on International Law, Vol. I, Pg. 152.
59.3.       Dealing with the covenant  under  consideration,  Mukherjea,  J.
went on to state as follows:
      “The remarks quoted above do not, however, seem quite appropriate to a
      case of the present description. Here there was no absorption  of  one
      State by another which would put an end  to  the  State  life  of  the
      former and extinguish its personality. What  happened  here  was  that
      several  States  voluntarily  united  together  and  integrated  their
      territories so as to form a larger and composite State of which  every
      one of the covenanting parties was a component part. There was  to  be
      one common executive, legislature and judiciary  and  the  Council  of
      Rulers would consist of the Rulers of all the Covenanting  States.  It
      may not be said, therefore, that the  Covenanting  States  lost  their
      personality altogether and it is to be  noted  that  for  purposes  of
      succession of Rulership and for counting  votes  on  the  strength  of
      population and other purposes the  Covenant  of  Merger  recognises  a
      quasi-separation between the territories of the different States.  But
      although such separation exists for some purposes  between  one  State
      territory and another, it is clear that the  inhabitants  of  all  the
      different States became, from the date of merger, the subjects of  the
      United State of Rajasthan and they could not be described as  subjects
      of any particular State. There is no such thing as subject of the Tonk
      State existing at the  present  day  and  the  Ruler  of  Tonk  cannot
      independently and in his own right exercise any form of sovereignty or
      control over the  Tonk  territory.  The  Government,  which  exercises
      sovereign powers, is only one, even though the  different  Rulers  may
      have a voice in it. It seems to us that in those altered circumstances
      the Extradition Treaty  of  1869  has  become  entirely  incapable  of
      execution. It is not possible for the Tonk State, which is one of  the
      contracting parties to act in accordance with the terms of the treaty,
      for it has no longer any independent  authority  or  sovereign  rights
      over the Tonk territory and can neither make nor  demand  extradition.
      When as a result of amalgamation or merger, a State loses its full and
      independent power of  action  over  the  subject-matter  of  a  treaty
      previously concluded, the treaty must necessarily lapse. It cannot  be
      said that the sovereignty of the Tonk State in  this  respect  is  now
      vested in the United State of Rajasthan.  The  authority,  so  far  as
      extradition was concerned, was already surrendered by the  Tonk  State
      in favour of the Dominion Government by the Instrument  of  Accession.
      But even assuming that these treaty  rights  could  devolve  upon  the
      United State of Rajasthan by reason of Article 6 of  the  Covenant  of
      Merger, the latter, it seems to me,  could  be  totally  incapable  of
      giving effect to the terms of the treaty. As has  been  said  already,
      there could be no such thing as a subject of the  Tonk  State  at  the
      present moment  and  Article  2  of  the  Treaty  which  provides  for
      extradition of Tonk  subjects  accused  of  having  committed  heinous
      offences within Tonk territory and seeking asylum elsewhere  would  be
      wholly infructuous. The United State of Rajasthan could  not  possibly
      demand extradition on the basis of this article, and  if  reciprocity,
      which is the essence of an Extradition Agreement, is gone, the  Treaty
      must be deemed to be void and inoperative.”

59.4.       The view of Mukherjea, J. was  concurred  with  by  Mahajan,  J.
Das, J. substantially agreed with the reasoning of Mukherjea, J.  Fazl  Ali,
J. agreed with the line of reasoning in  both  the  judgments  delivered  by
Patanjali Sastri, J. and Mukherjea, J.
59.5.       A careful consideration of the  judgment  by  Mukherjea,  J.  in
Babu Ram Saksena4 would show that His Lordship’s opinion has no  application
to a non-political agreement such as 1886 Lease Agreement.  The  observation
of Mukherjea, J., “When as a result  of  amalgamation  or  merger,  a  State
loses its full independent power of action over  the  subject  matter  of  a
treaty previously concluded, the treaty must necessarily lapse…” is  in  the
context of an extradition treaty which is purely political in  nature.    In
our view, Babu Ram Saksena4  is clearly distinguishable and  does  not  help
Kerala in its argument that 1886 Lease Agreement lapsed  on  merger  of  the
two States, Travancore and Cochin, into the United State of  Travancore  and
Cochin.

State of Himachal Pradesh
60.         Mr.  Harish  N.  Salve  also  placed  heavy  reliance  upon  the
decision of this Court in the case  of  State  of  Himachal  Pradesh5.   The
dispute in that case was between the State of Himachal Pradesh  on  the  one
hand and the Union of India, State of Punjab, State of  Haryana,   State  of
Rajasthan and  Union Territory of Chandigarh on the other  relating  to  the
power generated in the Bhakra-Nangal and Beas Projects. One  of  the  issues
under consideration was whether after the merger of the  State  of  Bilaspur
with the Dominion of India, the State of Himachal Pradesh could  still  have
any cause of action to file the suit. While dealing with  this  issue,  this
Court referred to Bilaspur Merger Agreement dated 15.08.1948,  particularly,
Article 1 thereof.  After having  noticed  that  provision,  this  Court  in
paragraph 48 of the Report (Pgs. 359-360) held as under:

    “48. It is thus clear that by the Bilaspur Merger Agreement dated  15-8-
    1948 the Raja of Bilaspur ceded to  the  Dominion  Government  full  and
    exclusive authority, jurisdiction and powers for and in relation to  the
    governance of the State and agreed to transfer the administration of the
    State  to  the  Dominion  Government  on  12-10-1948.  Thereafter,   the
    Government of India, Ministry of Law, issued a Notification dated  20-7-
    1949 (Ext. D-4/2-A) in exercise of its powers under Section 290-A of the
    Government  of  India  Act,  1935  making  the  States   Merger   (Chief
    Commissioners’ Provinces) Order, 1949, which came into force  from  1-8-
    1949. Under this States Merger (Chief Commissioners’  Provinces)  Order,
    1949, Bilaspur was to be administered in all respects as  if  it  was  a
    Chief Commissioner’s Province. Under  the  Constitution  of  India  also
    initially  Bilaspur  continued  to  be   administered   as   the   Chief
    Commissioner’s Province and was included in the First  Schedule  to  the
    Constitution as a  Part  C  State.  Under  Article  294(b)  all  rights,
    liabilities and obligations of the Government of the Dominion of  India,
    whether arising out of any contract or  otherwise,  became  the  rights,
    liabilities and obligations of the Government of India. These provisions
    of the Bilaspur Merger Agreement dated  15-8-1948  (Ext.  D-4/1-A),  the
    States Merger (Chief Commissioners’ Provinces) Order,  1949,  the  First
    Schedule to the Constitution and Article 294(b) of the Constitution make
    it clear that Bilaspur became the part of  the  Dominion  of  India  and
    thereafter was administered as a Chief Commissioner’s  Province  by  the
    Government of India and all rights of the Raja of Bilaspur vested in the
    Government of India. We, therefore, hold that  the  plaintiff  will  not
    have any cause of action to make any claim on the basis of any right  of
    the Raja of Bilaspur prior to the merger  of  Bilaspur  State  with  the
    Dominion of India.”

61.         The above observations in State of  Himachal  Pradesh5  must  be
read in the context of Bilaspur Merger Agreement  dated  15.08.1948  whereby
the Raja of Bilaspur ceded to the Dominion  Government  full  and  exclusive
authority, jurisdiction and powers for and in relation to the governance  of
the State and all rights of Raja of Bilaspur had vested  in  the  Government
of India. We find it difficult to appreciate  how  these  observations  have
any application insofar as the  continuance  of  the  1886  Lease  Agreement
after the merger of the Travancore State and the Cochin  State  into  a  new
state, namely, United State of Travancore and  Cochin  are  concerned.   The
judgment of this Court in State of Himachal Pradesh5, in our  view,  has  no
application to the submission advanced on behalf of Kerala.

Status of Indian States on accession
62.         It is important to bear in mind that accession of Indian  States
to the Dominion of India did not extinguish those States as  entities.  They
only became part of Dominion of India as constituent States along  with  the
provinces of erstwhile British  India.  We  are  unable  to  hold  that  the
entities of those States who acceded to the Dominion of India  were  totally
wiped out. There is merit in the submission of  Tamil  Nadu  that  the  fact
that on 24.05.1949 the States of Travancore and Cochin merged together  also
establishes that Indian States which acceded to the  Dominion  continued  as
entities.
63.         In light of the above, we are unable to accept the  argument  of
Kerala that Madras ceased to be a lessee on 15.08.1947.  It is pertinent  to
observe here that Kerala  entered  into  the  supplemental  agreements  with
Tamil Nadu in 1970.  In these supplemental agreements,  the  continuance  of
1886 lease is stated  in  clear  and  unambiguous  words.   Had  1886  Lease
Agreement ceased to be operational on and  from  15.08.1947,  there  was  no
occasion for Kerala to enter into supplemental agreements  with  Tamil  Nadu
in 1970.  By  first  supplemental  agreement,  Tamil  Nadu  surrendered  the
fishing rights in the leased lands and also agreed to  the  upward  revision
of  the  rent  of  the  leased  land.   The  second  supplemental  agreement
conferred on Tamil Nadu the right to generate power and right  to  construct
all facilities required for power generation.  An additional extent of  42.7
acres was leased to Tamil Nadu for the said purposes. Mr. Harish  N.  Salve,
learned senior counsel for Kerala argued that 1970  supplemental  agreements
and the statement therein about continuance of  1886  Lease  Agreement  were
based on a mistake of law (wrongful assumption) of continuance of  lease  of
1886.  The submission of the learned senior counsel for  Kerala  can  hardly
be accepted firstly, in view  of  our  finding  that  1886  Lease  Agreement
continued on and from 15.08.1947 and secondly, in view of  the  decision  of
this Court in State of Andhra Pradesh3, wherein a three-Judge Bench of  this
Court speaking through one of us (R.M. Lodha, J., as he then was)  observed,
“when an agreement is entered into between two or  more  states,  they  have
assistance of competent, legal and technical minds available with them.  The
states do not have lack of drafting ability. Such agreement is  provided  by
trained minds…….”. The 1970  supplemental  agreements  having  been  entered
into by two high parties, namely, State of Kerala and State of  Tamil  Nadu,
it can hardly be accepted that the continuance of  1886  lease  was  wrongly
assumed though it had lapsed on 15.08.1947. Kerala obviously must  have  had
competent and legal minds available with them when  supplemental  agreements
were entered into in 1970  with  Tamil  Nadu.  There  is  no  merit  in  the
argument of Kerala that supplemental agreements were  based  on  mistake  of
law.



Is 1886 lease agreement an act of State?
64.         Is 1886  Lease  Agreement  an  act  of  State  or  International
Treaty?   The answer has to be in the negative. It is well settled  that  an
act of State is the taking over of sovereign powers by a  State  in  respect
of territory which was not till  then  part  of  it,  by  conquest,  treaty,
cession or otherwise,  and  the  municipal  courts  recognised  by  the  new
sovereign have the power and jurisdiction to investigate and ascertain  only
such rights as the new sovereign has chosen to recognise or  acknowledge  by
legislation, agreement or otherwise, and that  such  a  recognition  may  be
express or may be implied from the circumstances. 1886  Lease  Agreement  is
an ordinary contract of lease. Merely, because the contract was  arrived  at
between the Crown through the Secretary of State and the Travancore State  –
a princely Indian State – the nature of contract is not changed and it  does
not  become  a  political  arrangement.   As  noted  above,  this  Court  in
Mullaperiyar Environmental Protection Forum1 has already declared that  1886
Lease Agreement is not political in nature. We are in  agreement  with  this
view. The same reasoning applies equally to standstill agreement.

Virendra Singh
65.         Mr. Harish N. Salve, learned senior counsel  for  Kerala  relied
upon the decision of this Court  in  Virendra  Singh[6].   The  Constitution
Bench in Virendra Singh6  was concerned with the question  about  the  post-
Constitutional rights to property situate in Indian  States  that  were  not
part of British India before the  Constitution  but  which  acceded  to  the
dominion of India shortly before the Constitution  and  became  an  integral
part  of  the  Indian  Republic  after  it.   Charkhari  and   Sarila   were
independent  States  under  the  paramountcy  of  the  British  Crown.  They
acknowledged the British  Crown  as  the  suzerain  power.   India  obtained
Independence and became a Dominion by  reason  of  Act  of  1947.   The  two
States – Charkhari and  Sarila  –  executed  Instruments  of  Accession  and
acceded to dominion. In the Instrument of Accession, the sovereignty of  the
acceding States was expressly  recognised  and  safeguarded.  The  Ruler  of
Sarila granted, on 28.01.1948, one village to the writ petitioners  and  the
Ruler of Charkhari also granted certain  villages  to  the  petitioners.  On
13.03.1948, thirty-five  States in Bundelkhand  and  Baghelkhand  (including
Charkhari and Sarila) agreed to unite themselves in one State which  was  to
be called United State of Vindhya  Pradesh. Few days later, pursuant to  the
above agreement, a  covenant was signed by all the thirty-five Rulers  which
brought the new State into being. This arrangement was domestic  arrangement
and not a treaty with the dominion of India.  Soon after this,  the  Revenue
Officers of the newly formed Vindhya Pradesh  Union tried to interfere  with
the grants  made  by  the  above  Rulers.   The  integration  did  not  work
satisfactorily.  So, on 26.12.1949,  the  same  thirty-five  Rulers  entered
into another agreement abrogating their covenant and  dissolving  the  newly
created State as from 01.01.1950. By the same instrument  each  Ruler  ceded
to the Government of  the  Indian  Dominion  as  from  the  same  date.  The
instrument was called the Vindhya Pradesh Merger Agreement.  The  Government
of  Indian  Dominion  was  also  party  to  the  agreement.   The   Dominion
Government took over the administration of the States which  formed  Vindhya
Pradesh on 01.01.1950 and decided to form them into a  Chief  Commissioner’s
province. The Constitution came into force  on  26.01.1950.  The  grants  of
Jagirs and Muafis made by the Rulers of Charkhari and  Sarila  were  revoked
somewhere in August, 1952.  It  was  this  order  of  revocation  which  was
challenged before this Court by invoking Article 32 of the Constitution.
65.1.       While dealing with  the  issue  noted  above  and  in  light  of
various decisions cited at the bar, this Court exposited as follows:
      “Now it is undoubted that the accessions and the acceptance of them by
      the Dominion of India were acts of  State  into  whose  competency  no
      municipal Court could enquire; nor can any Court in India,  after  the
      Constitution, accept jurisdiction to settle any dispute arising out of
      them because of article 363 and the proviso to article 131;  all  they
      can do is to register the fact of accession;  see  section  6  of  the
      Government of India Act, 1935 relating to  the  Accession  of  States.
      But what then?  Whether the Privy Council view is correct or that  put
      forward by Chief Justice Marshall in its  broadest  outlines  is  more
      proper, all authorities are agreed that it is within the competence of
      the new sovereign to accord recognition  to  existing  rights  in  the
      conquered or ceded territories and, by legislation  or  otherwise,  to
      apply its own laws to them; and these laws can, and  indeed  when  the
      occasion arises must, be examined and  interpreted  by  the  municipal
      Courts of the absorbing State.”

65.2.       The exposition of  above  legal  position  by  the  Constitution
Bench hardly admits of any doubt. Obviously,  the  accession  of  an  Indian
State to the dominion of India and acceptance of  it  by  the  Dominion  are
acts of State and jurisdiction of the courts to go into  its  competency  or
settle any dispute arising out of them are clearly barred under Article  363
and the proviso to Article 131. As we have already held – and that  is  what
has been held in the 2006 judgment as well – that 1886  Lease  Agreement  is
an ordinary agreement and that it is not political in  nature,  the  embargo
of Article 363 and the proviso to Article 131 have no application.

Scope of Article 363 and Article 131
66.         Article 363[7] of the Constitution is an embargo for the  courts
including Supreme Court to deal with any dispute arising out  of  a  treaty,
agreement, covenant, engagement, sanad or  other  similar  instrument  which
was entered into or executed before the commencement of the Constitution  by
any Ruler of an Indian state and to which the Government of the dominion  of
India or any of its predecessors Government was a party and it  has  or  has
been continued in operation after such  commencement.  The  jurisdiction  of
the courts is also barred to interfere in any  dispute  in  respect  of  any
right accruing under any liability or obligation arising out of any  of  the
provisions of this Constitution relating  to  any  such  treaty,  agreement,
covenant, engagement, sanad or other similar instrument.
67.         A plain reading of Article 363 leaves no manner  of  doubt  that
if the dispute arises in respect of a document of that  description  and  if
such document had been executed before  the  commencement  of  Constitution,
the interference by courts is barred. The documents referred to  in  Article
363 are those which are political in  nature.  Any  dispute  regarding  such
documents is non-justiciable. The object behind Article 363 is to  bind  the
Indian Rulers with treaties, agreements, covenants, engagements,  sanads  or
other similar instruments entered into or executed before  the  commencement
of the Constitution and to prevent the  Indian  Rulers  from  resiling  from
such agreements as the integrity of India was to be maintained at  all  cost
and could not be  affected  by  raising  certain  disputes.  It  may  be  of
relevance to refer to the White Paper  on  Indian  States  prepared  by  the
Government of India in 1948 which  brings  out  the  historical  perspective
which necessitated the adoption of the provisions in Article 363.   It  says
“Article 363 has therefore been embodied in the Constitution which  excludes
specifically  the  Agreements  of  Merger  and  the   Covenants   from   the
jurisdiction of courts except in cases which may be referred to the  Supreme
Court by the President”.
68.         Article 131[8] of  the  Constitution  deals  with  the  original
jurisdiction of this Court. Subject to the provisions of  the  Constitution,
this Court has original jurisdiction in any  dispute,  inter  alia,  between
the Government of India and any State or States on one side and one or  more
other States on the other  if  and  insofar  as  the  dispute  involves  any
question (whether of law or fact) on which  the  existence  of  legal  right
depends. However, by proviso appended  thereto,  the  jurisdiction  of  this
Court is barred if the dispute to which a State specified in Part B  of  the
First Schedule is a party if the dispute arises out of any  provision  of  a
treaty, agreement, covenant, engagement, sanad or other  similar  instrument
was entered into or executed before the  commencement  of  the  Constitution
and has or has been continued in operation after such commencement.
69.         There is similarity of provision in Article 363 and  proviso  to
Article 131. The original jurisdiction conferred on this Court by  the  main
provision contained in Article 131 is excepted by virtue of proviso  in  the
matters of political settlements.  By making provisions such as Article  363
and proviso to Article 131, the political settlements have  been  taken  out
of purview of judicial pronouncements.   Proviso  appended  to  Article  131
renders  a  dispute  arising  out  of  any  treaty,   agreement,   covenant,
engagement, sanad  or  similar  instrument  which  is  political  in  nature
executed before the commencement of the Constitution and which  has  or  has
been continued in operation, non-justiciable and jurisdiction of this  Court
is barred.  The jurisdiction of this Court is not taken away in  respect  of
the dispute arising out of an ordinary agreement. The  instruments  referred
to and described in proviso are only those which are  political  in  nature.
Non-political instruments are not covered by the proviso.
70.         1886 Lease Agreement does provide  for  resolution  of  disputes
between the parties to the agreement by way of arbitration; it  contains  an
arbitration clause. The submission of Kerala that enforcement of  any  award
under the arbitration clause would be  political  in  nature  is  misplaced.
The assumption of Kerala that 1886 Lease Agreement was not  justiciable  and
enforceable in court of law  prior  to  the  Constitution  as  no  court  in
Travancore would obviously entertain a claim against Maharaja and  no  court
outside the State of Travancore  have  jurisdiction  over  the  Maharaja  of
Travancore is not relevant at all and devoid of any merit.
71.         We are in complete agreement with the view taken by  this  Court
in  Mullaperiyar  Environmental  Protection  Forum1      that   1886   Lease
Agreement would not come within the purview of Article 363 and  jurisdiction
of this Court is not barred.  As a necessary corollary, the dispute  arising
out of 1886 Lease Agreement is not  barred  under  Article  131  proviso  as
well.  Moreover, the principal  challenge  laid  in  the  suit  pertains  to
constitutional validity of 2006 (Amendment) Act for  which  Article  363  or
for that matter under Article 131 proviso does not come  into  operation  at
all.

Article 294 and Article 295
72.         By virtue of Article 294[9], all properties  immediately  before
the commencement of the Constitution which vested in  His  Majesty  for  the
purposes of the Government of the Dominion of India vest in  the  Union  and
all properties  which  vested  in  His  Majesty  for  the  purposes  of  the
Government of each Governor’s Province vest in the corresponding  State  and
all rights, liabilities and obligations of the  Government  of  Dominion  of
India and the Government of each Governor’s Province are  recognised  to  be
rights, liabilities and obligations respectively of the Government of  India
and the Government  of  each  corresponding  State.  In  other  words,  this
article declares which property would vest in  the  Union  and  which  would
vest in the State Government. There remains  no  doubt  that  by  virtue  of
Article 294(b) read  with  First  Schedule  appended  to  the  Constitution,
leasehold rights devolved upon the State of  Madras  under  the  1886  Lease
Agreement.
73.         Article 295[10]  relates  to  succession  to  property,  assets,
rights, liabilities and obligations.   Clause  1(a)  states  that  from  the
commencement of the Constitution all property and assets  which  immediately
before such commencement were vested in an Indian State corresponding  to  a
State specified in Part B of the First Schedule shall vest in the Union,  if
the purposes for which such property and assets were held,  be  purposes  of
the Union.  Clause  1(b)  provides  that  all  rights  and  liabilities  and
obligations of the Government of any Indian State corresponding to  a  State
specified in Part B of the  First  Schedule,  whether  arising  out  of  any
contract or otherwise shall be the rights, liabilities  and  obligations  of
the Government of India if the purposes for which such rights were  acquired
or liabilities and obligations were incurred, be purposes of the  Government
of India. Clause (2) of this Article provides that Government of each  State
specified in Part B of the First Schedule shall  be  the  successor  of  the
corresponding State as regards all  property  and  assets  and  all  rights,
liabilities  and  obligations,  whether  arising  out  of  any  contract  or
otherwise, other than those referred to in clause (1). This  is  subject  to
any agreement entered into that behalf by the Government of India  with  the
Government of  the  State  concerned.  The  expression  ‘Government  of  the
corresponding  Indian  State”  in  Article  295(2),  in  our  opinion,  with
reference to Government of Part B State of Travancore—Cochin meant not  only
the  merged  erstwhile  State  of  Travancore  and  Cochin  but   also   its
components. Seen thus, by virtue of Article 295(2), the Government  of  Part
B State of Travancore – Cochin became successor of the  corresponding  State
of Travancore as regards all rights,  liabilities  and  obligations  arising
out of 1886 Lease Agreement.

Findings on issue Nos. 1, 5, 6 and 7
74.         In light of the above, our finding on issue Nos. 1, 5, 6  and  7
are:
(i)   The suit filed by the  State  of  Tamil  Nadu  is  maintainable  under
Article 131 of the Constitution.
(ii)  The suit based on a legal right claimed under the lease deed  executed
between the Government of the Maharaja of Travancore and  the  Secretary  of
State for India in Council on 29.10.1886 is not barred  by  the  proviso  to
Article 131 of the Constitution.
(iii) The State of Kerala (first defendant) is  estopped  from  raising  the
plea that the lease deed  dated  29.10.1886  has  lapsed,  in  view  of  the
supplemental agreements dated 28.05.1970.
(iv)  The lease deed executed between the  Government  of  the  Maharaja  of
Travancore and Secretary of State for India  in  Council  on  29.10.1886  is
valid and binding on the first defendant and it is enforceable by  plaintiff
against the first defendant.

Issue Nos. 2(a), 3, 4(a), 4(b) and 10
75.         These issues are inter-related and, therefore,  they  are  being
discussed together.

Contentions on behalf of Tamil Nadu
76.         Mr. Vinod Bobde, learned senior counsel for Tamil  Nadu  submits
that 2006 judgment  had  rendered  a  finding  of  fact  on  the  safety  of
Mullaperiyar dam for raising water level to 142  ft.  2006  (Amendment)  Act
could not have taken away the legal right of Tamil  Nadu  flowing  from  the
judgment. Section 62(A) of  the  2006  (Amendment)  Act  directly  seeks  to
nullify the judgment of this Court by declaring the  dam  to  be  endangered
and by fixing the height of the water level at 136 ft.  It  also  authorises
the Dam Safety Authority to discard the judgment and to adjudge  for  itself
whether to allow raising of water level. The Section also goes on to  freeze
all work on the  dam  allowed  by  this  Court  in  2006  judgment.  Section
62(1)(e) of the 2006 (Amendment) Act in its application to the subject  dam,
seeks to overcome the finding  of  safety  by  authorizing  the  Dam  Safety
Authority  to  order,  inter  alia,  decommissioning   of   the   dam.   The
nullification of judgment is, thus, plain and  obvious.  A  final  judgment,
once rendered, operates and remains in force until altered by the  court  in
an  appropriate  proceeding.  He   submits   that   unilateral   legislation
nullifying a judgment is constitutionally impermissible.
77.         Relying upon the  judgment of this Court in Prithvi  Cotton[11],
learned senior counsel for  Tamil  Nadu  submits  that  nullification  of  a
judgment without removal of its legal basis is  one  of  the  categories  of
usurpation. A judgment on a question of fact cannot  be  nullified  so  also
the effect of judgment, which enforces a legal right.  By relying  upon  the
Privy Council judgment in Liyanage[12], he submitted that interference  with
the judicial process in a pending  matter  also  amounts  to  usurpation  of
judicial power.  In both categories of usurpation, the answer  would  depend
on facts of each case after considering the legal effect of  the  law  on  a
judgment or a judicial proceeding. Mr. Vinod Bobde  submits  that  the  true
purpose of the legislation, the haste with which it  was  enacted,  and  the
surrounding circumstances, are relevant circumstances.
78.         It is argued by learned senior counsel for Tamil Nadu  that  the
test for determining whether a judgment is nullified is to see  whether  the
law and the judgment  are  inconsistent  and  irreconcilable  so  that  both
cannot stand together.  The finding of fact by this Court in  2006  judgment
that the dam is safe can never be deemed to be imaginary  by  legal  fiction
which then  proceeds to deem the opposite to be real, namely, that  the  dam
is endangered. The provision limiting the height of water level to  136  ft,
enacted within 15 days after the judgment of this Court finding the  dam  to
be safe and allowing the water level to be raised  to  142  ft.,  shows  the
true purpose of the legislation, the situation to which it was directed  and
the clear intention  to defy and act as  a  judicial  authority  sitting  in
appeal over the judgment of this Court.
79.         Mr.  Vinod  Bobde  submits  that  between  27.02.2006  when  the
judgment was rendered by this Court and  15.03.2006  when  2006  (Amendment)
Act was enacted by Kerala State legislature, no new facts emerged nor  there
was  any  change  in  circumstances.  Kerala  Government  and  Kerala  State
Legislature did not have a single piece of information  of  fact  before  it
concerning seismic coefficient values, Probable Maximum Flood  (PMF)  levels
or any other matter or material contradicting or even doubting  the  finding
of this Court in 2006 judgment which  was  based  on  the  findings  of  the
Expert Committee.
80.         It is strenuously urged by  learned  senior  counsel  for  Tamil
Nadu that once a dispute is before a court and parties are at issue  on  any
question of fact, the decision on that question can be rendered only by  the
court and not by the legislature or the executive.  The  legislature  cannot
decide that the water level shall not exceed 136 ft.  when  the  very  issue
had been adjudicated upon by the court.
81.         Learned senior counsel for Tamil Nadu argues  that  the  finding
of fact about safety of the  dam  for  water  level  upto  142  ft.  is  res
judicata and binds the two States. It is not  within  the  province  of  the
Kerala Legislature to sit in judgment on  the  finding  of  this  Court  and
purport to reverse the same by directing that water level  shall  remain  at
136 ft. According to Tamil Nadu, this  is  not  a  legislation;  it  is  the
exercise of “despotic discretion” and  offends  the  rule  of  law  and  the
principle of separation of powers.
82.         Relying upon a decision of this Court in Indra  Sawhney[13],  it
is argued by learned senior counsel for  Tamil  Nadu  that  the  legislative
declaration of fact in Section 62A that the  dams  in  Second  Schedule  are
endangered on account of their age, degeneration, degradation, structure  or
other impediments is not beyond judicial scrutiny and  it  is  open  to  the
court to examine the true facts.
83.         Mr. Vinod Bobde argues  that  2006  (Amendment)  Act  is  not  a
validating enactment because (i) the judgment of this Court  did  not  reach
the finding about the safety of  the  dam  founded  on  any  law  which  was
considered to suffer from any constitutional vice or defect; (ii) there  was
no occasion at all to remove any vice or cure any  defect  in  any  law  and
perform a validating exercise; and (iii) in fact, the 2006  (Amendment)  Act
does not purport to cure any defect found by this Court in any law. In  this
regard,  reliance  is  placed  upon  decisions  of  this  Court  in  Prithvi
Cotton11,  Madan  Mohan  Pathak[14],  People’s  Union  for  Civil  Liberties
(PUCL)[15], Municipal Corporation of the City of Ahmedabad and Anr.[16]  and
Janapada Sabha[17].
84.         It is argued by Mr. Vinod Bobde that validating laws are  passed
by the legislature after curing the defects  in  the  law  which  have  been
struck down but where a fact is adjudicated upon, there is no power  in  the
legislature or executive to sit in  judgment upon a decision on  a  disputed
question of fact and substitute its  own  “legislative  judgment”  for  that
Court. Learned senior counsel places reliance upon  the   judgment  of  this
Court in Cauvery reference[18].
85.         It is, thus, argued by the  learned  senior  counsel  for  Tamil
Nadu that 2006 (Amendment) Act is unconstitutional.



Contentions on behalf of Kerala
86.         Mr. Harish N. Salve, learned senior counsel for  Kerala  on  the
other hand argues that Kerala  legislature  is  competent  to  override  the
contracts and regulate the safety of Mullaperiyar dam  situated  within  its
territory  across  river  Periyar.  Even  agreements  entered  into  between
foreign sovereigns can be overridden in exercise of legislative  powers.  He
relies upon the decisions of  this  Court  in  Thakur  Jagannath  Baksh[19],
Maharaj Umeg Singh[20], Manigault[21] and an article by Roderick E.  Walston
titled “The Public Trust Doctrine in the Water Rights Contexts”[22].
87.         Learned senior counsel for Kerala contends that on the basis  of
“age”, etc., as safety standards, the Kerala legislature as a  precautionary
measure has declared that 22 dams are “endangered” and  restricted  storages
thereunder by virtue of Section 62(A)(1) and (2) read with Second  Schedule.
Learned senior counsel relies upon Brotherhood  of  Locomotive  Firemen[23],
Raymond Motor  Transportation[24],  Raymond  Kassel[25],  American  Trucking
Association[26] and Pfizer Animal Health[27]. Learned  senior  counsel  also
relies  upon,  “Science  and  Risk  Regulation  and  International  Law”  by
Jacqueline Peel[28] wherein Pfizer Animal Health27  has been referred.
88.         Mr. Harish Salve, learned senior counsel for Kerala argues  that
legislature is competent to remove the basis of judgment and neutralize  its
effect. In response to the  contention of Tamil Nadu that  2006  (Amendment)
Act constitutes usurpation of judicial power, learned senior counsel  argues
that 2003 Act was in place when the judgment was delivered by this Court  on
27.02.2006 but the Court has not taken into consideration Sections 3  and  4
and so also Section 30 of the 2003 Act.  It was assumed that Section 108  of
the 1956 Act would save the contractual rights arising from the  1886  Lease
Agreement and purportedly  continued  by  the  supplementary  agreements  of
1970.  The  2003  Act  was  not  under  challenge  either  in  the  previous
litigation nor in the present  suit.  Learned  senior  counsel  for  Kerala,
thus, submits that where a judgment is per incuriam, one remedy  is  by  way
of further appropriate legislation.
89.         Learned senior counsel for Kerala in  the  course  of  arguments
extensively referred to the provisions of 2003 Act and the  substitution  of
Section 62 by providing with  non  obstante  clause  that  the  function  of
evaluation of safety of a dam and the  power  to  issue  directions  to  the
custodian are  conferred  upon  Dam  Safety  Authority  notwithstanding  any
decree of any court, and notwithstanding anything contained in  any  treaty,
contract, instrument or other documents and  submitted  that  2003  Act  and
2006 (Amendment) Act have  created  a  statutory  framework  for  regulating
water level in respect of dams within the State of  Kerala,  both  scheduled
and non-scheduled. 2006 (Amendment) Act establishes a  statutory  authority,
which confers upon it the power to take certain measures in the interest  of
public safety. The judgment of this Court in  2006,  Kerala  contends,  even
does not suggest remotely  that  Kerala  legislature  lacks  power  to  make
measures for public safety in relation to the reservoir situated within  the
State.
90.         Mr.  Harish Salve argues that in declaring a dam to  be  unsafe,
the Legislature does not render a finding of fact. It deems the  dam  to  be
unsafe and sets up an authority to regulate the dam in a particular  manner.
The legislative competence of the legislature  to  put  in  place  statutory
machinery to regulate water levels in a dam situated  within  the  State  in
the interest of public safety cannot be denied. He argues that  as  to  what
constitutes an endangered dam is a matter of legislative policy  and  safety
is accepted to be a matter primarily of policy. A court through the  process
of adjudication renders findings and adjudication is always as  per  law  in
force. Once the law is altered, the adjudication cannot stand  on  its  own.
According  to  Mr.  Salve,  the  argument  of  Tamil  Nadu   that   impugned
legislation is usurpation of judicial power is misconceived.
91.          Learned  senior  counsel  for  Kerala  relies  upon    Wheeling
Bridge[29]  in support of  the  principle  that  private  rights  pass  into
judgments but not the public rights and also submits that Wheeling  Bridge29
principle has been  applied  in  the  subsequent  cases  viz.,  The  Clinton
Bridge[30], Hodges[31] and Charles B. Miller[32].
92.         Shri Harish N. Salve, argues that 2006 (Amendment) Act is not  a
Validation Act in a stricto sensu. While  adjudicating  upon  constitutional
validity, he argues that the court must proceed  on  the  premise  that  the
legislature understands and correctly  appreciates  the  needs  of  its  own
people and its laws are directed  to  the  problems  made  manifest  by  its
experience and are based on adequate grounds.  Learned  senior  counsel  for
Kerala relies upon the decision of this Court  in  Elphinstone  Spinning[33]
which approved  the  earlier  decisions  in  Sanjeev  Coke[34]  and  Doypack
Systems[35].

Indian Constitution : Separation of powers
93.         Indian Constitution, unlike Constitution  of  United  States  of
America and Australia, does not have  express  provision  of  separation  of
powers. However, the  structure  provided  in  our  Constitution  leaves  no
manner of doubt that the doctrine of separation of powers runs  through  the
Indian Constitution. It is for this reason that this  Court  has  recognized
separation of  power  as  a  basic  feature  of  the  Constitution  and   an
essential constituent of the rule of law.  The  doctrine  of  separation  of
powers is, though, not expressly engrafted in the Constitution,  its  sweep,
operation  and  visibility  are  apparent  from  the  Constitution.   Indian
Constitution has made demarcation without drawing formal lines  between  the
three organs – legislature, executive and judiciary.

Mahal Chand Sethia
94.         In Mahal Chand Sethia[36], while dealing with the argument  that
although it was open to the State legislature by an Act and the Governor  by
an Ordinance to amend  the  West  Bengal  Criminal  Law  Amendment  (Special
Courts) Act,  1949, it was incompetent for either of  them  to  validate  an
order of transfer which  had  been  quashed  by  the  issue  of  a  writ  of
certiorari by the High Court and  the  order  of  transfer  being  virtually
dead, could not be resuscitated by  the  Governor  or  legislature  and  the
validating measures could not touch any adjudication by the Court.    Mitter
J. speaking for the Court stated the legal position :-
     “……A legislature of a State is competent to pass any measure  which  is
     within its legislative competence under the Constitution of  India.  Of
     course,  this  is  subject  to  the  provisions  of  Part  III  of  the
     Constitution. Laws can be enacted either by the Ordinance making  power
     of a Governor or the Legislature of a State in respect  of  the  topics
     covered by the entries in the appropriate List in the Seventh  Schedule
     to the Constitution. Subject to  the  above  limitations  laws  can  be
     prospective as also retrospective in operation.  A  court  of  law  can
     pronounce upon the validity of any law and declare the same to be  null
     and void if it was beyond the legislative competence of the Legislature
     or  if  it  infringed  the  rights  enshrined  in  Part  III   of   the
     Constitution. Needless to add it can strike down or declare invalid any
     Act or direction of a State Government which is not authorised by  law.
     The position of a Legislature is however different. It  cannot  declare
     any decision of a Court of law to be void or of no effect.”


         (emphasis supplied)

Prithvi Cotton
95.         One of the leading  cases  of  this  Court  on  the  legislative
competence vis-à-vis decision of the Court  is  Prithvi  Cotton11.  In  that
case, the validity of the Gujarat  Imposition  of  Taxes  by  Municipalities
(Validation) Act, 1963 was  assailed  on  behalf  of  the  petitioners.  The
Validation Act had to be enacted in view of the decision of  this  Court  in
Patel Gordhandas Hargovindas[37].  Section 3 of the Validation Act  provided
that notwithstanding anything contained in any judgment, decree or order  of
a court or tribunal or any other authority, no tax assessed or purported  to
have been assessed by a municipality on the basis  of  capital  value  of  a
building or land and imposed, collected or recovered by the municipality  at
any time before the commencement of the Validation Act shall  be  deemed  to
have been invalidly  assessed,  imposed,  collected  or  recovered  and  the
imposition, collection or recovery of the tax so  assessed  shall  be  valid
and shall be deemed to have been always valid and shall  not  be  called  in
question merely on the ground that the assessment of the tax on  the   basis
of capital value of the building or land  was  not  authorized  by  law  and
accordingly any tax so assessed before the commencement  of  the  Validation
Act and leviable for a period prior to such commencement but  not  collected
or recovered before such commencement  may  be  collected  or  recovered  in
accordance  with  the  relevant  municipal  law.  The   Constitution   Bench
exposited  that the validity of a validating law depended upon  whether  the
legislature possesses the  competence  which  it  claims  over  the  subject
matter and whether in making the validation it removed the defect which  the
courts had found in the existing law and made  adequate  provisions  in  the
validating law for a valid imposition of the taxes.  In  the  words  of  the
Constitution Bench:

      “….When a Legislature sets out to validate a tax declared by  a  court
      to be illegally collected under an ineffective or an invalid law,  the
      cause  for  ineffectiveness  or  invalidity  must  be  removed  before
      validation can be said to take place effectively. The  most  important
      condition, of course, is that the Legislature must possess  the  power
      to impose the tax, for, if it does not, the action  must  ever  remain
      ineffective and illegal. Granted legislative  competence,  it  is  not
      sufficient to declare merely that the decision of the Court shall  not
      bind for that is tantamount to reversing the decision in  exercise  of
      judicial power which the Legislature does not possess or  exercise.  A
      court’s decision must always bind unless the conditions on which it is
      based are so fundamentally altered that the decision  could  not  have
      been given in the altered circumstances. Ordinarily, a court  holds  a
      tax to be invalidly imposed because the power to tax is wanting or the
      statute or the rules or both are invalid or do not sufficiently create
      the jurisdiction. Validation of a tax so declared illegal may be  done
      only if the grounds of illegality or invalidity are capable  of  being
      removed and are in fact removed and the tax thus made legal. Sometimes
      this is done by providing for jurisdiction where jurisdiction had  not
      been properly invested before. Sometimes this is done  by  re-enacting
      retrospectively a valid and legal taxing provision and then by fiction
      making the tax already collected to stand under  the  re-enacted  law.
      Sometimes the Legislature gives its own meaning and interpretation  of
      the law under which tax was collected and by  legislative  fiat  makes
      the new meaning binding upon courts. The Legislature  may  follow  any
      one method or all of them and while it does so it may  neutralise  the
      effect of the earlier decision of the court which becomes  ineffective
      after the change of the law. Whichever method is adopted  it  must  be
      within the competence of the legislature and  legal  and  adequate  to
      attain the object of validation. If the Legislature has the power over
      the subject-matter and competence to make a valid law, it can  at  any
      time make such a valid law and make it retrospectively so as  to  bind
      even past transactions. The validity of a Validating  Law,  therefore,
      depends upon whether the Legislature possesses the competence which it
      claims over the subject-matter and whether in making the validation it
      removes the defect which the courts had found in the existing law  and
      makes adequate provisions in the Validating Law for a valid imposition
      of the tax.”


         (emphasis supplied)



Janapada Sabha
96.         The Constitution  Bench  in  Janapada  Sabha17,  considered  the
position with regard to legislative power and  a  decision  of  the  Supreme
Court and made the following weighty observations:

     “..On the words used in the Act,  it  is  plain  that  the  Legislature
     attempted to overrule or set aside the decision of this Court. That, in
     our  judgment,  is  not  open  to  the  Legislature  to  do  under  our
     constitutional scheme. It is open to  the  Legislature  within  certain
     limits to amend the provisions of an Act retrospectively and to declare
     what the law shall be deemed to have been, but it is not  open  to  the
     Legislature to say that a judgment of a Court properly constituted  and
     rendered in exercise of its powers in a matter brought before it  shall
     be deemed to be ineffective and the interpretation of the law shall  be
     otherwise than as declared by the Court.”

                                        (emphasis supplied by us)

Municipal Corporation of the City of Ahmedabad
97.         The above three decisions and one more decision  of  this  Court
in Amalgamated Coal Fields[38] were noted by the  two-Judge  Bench  of  this
Court in the  Municipal  Corporation  of  the  City  of  Ahmedabad16.  While
accepting that the  legislature  under  our  Constitution  have  within  the
prescribed  limits,  powers  to  make  laws   prospectively   as   well   as
retrospectively and that by exercise of those powers,  the  legislature  can
remove the basis of  a  decision  rendered  by  a  competent  court  thereby
rendering that decision ineffective but no legislature has power to ask  the
instrumentalities of the State to disobey or disregard  the decisions  given
by courts.

Madan Mohan Pathak
98.         Yet another  important  decision  by  the  7-Judge  Constitution
Bench of this Court on the subject is Madan Mohan Pathak14.  P.N.  Bhagwati,
J. speaking for himself, Krishna Iyer and Desai, JJ. while dealing with  the
constitutional validity of the Life Insurance Corporation  (Modification  of
Settlement) Act, 1976, which was enacted by the Parliament in light  of  the
decision of the Calcutta High Court holding an impost or tax to be  invalid,
observed that irrespective of whether the impugned Act was  constitutionally
valid or not, Life Insurance Corporation was  bound  to  obey  the  writ  of
mandamus issued by the Calcutta High Court. M.H. Beg,  C.J.,  agreeing  with
the view of P.N. Bhagwati, J. that the  benefits  of  rights  recognized  by
the judgment of the Calcutta High Court could not be indirectly  taken  away
under Section 3 of the impugned Act selectively,  said  that  if  the  right
conferred by the judgment independently is sought  to  be  set  aside,  then
Section 3 would be invalid for trenching  upon  the  judicial  power.   M.H.
Beg, C.J. further said:

      “ I may, however, observe that even though the real object of the  Act
      may be to set aside the result of the mandamus issued by the  Calcutta
      High Court, yet, the section does not  mention  this  object  at  all.
      Probably this was so because the jurisdiction of a High Court and  the
      effectiveness of its orders derived their force from  Article  226  of
      the Constitution itself. These could not be touched by an ordinary act
      of Parliament. Even if Section 3 of the Act seeks  to  take  away  the
      basis of the judgment of the Calcutta High Court,  without  mentioning
      it, by enacting what may appear to be a law, yet, I think that,  where
      the rights of the citizen against the State are concerned,  we  should
      adopt  an  interpretation  which  upholds  those  rights.   Therefore,
      according to the interpretation I prefer to adopt the rights which had
      passed into those embodied in a judgment and became  the  basis  of  a
      mandamus from the High Court could not be taken away in this  indirect
      fashion.”

                                                                   (emphasis
supplied by us)
P. Sambamurthy
99.         The importance of power of judicial review in rule  of  law  has
been significantly highlighted in P. Sambamurthy[39].  In  that  case,  this
Court while holding  that  proviso  to  clause  (5)  of  Article  371-D  was
violative of the basic structure doctrine, observed that if the exercise  of
the power of judicial review could be set at naught by the State  Government
by overriding the decision against it, it would sound  the  death  knell  of
the rule of law.  Sounding a word of caution, this Court said that the  rule
of law would cease to have any meaning if the State Government were to  defy
the law and yet to get away with it.

Cauvery Reference
100.        In Cauvery  reference18,  this  Court  was  concerned  with  the
validity of Karnataka Cauvery Basin Irrigation Protection  Ordinance,  1991.
Relying  upon  its  previous  decisions  in  Madan  Mohan  Pathak14  and  P.
Sambamurthy39, this Court declared  the  Ordinance  unconstitutional  as  it
sought to nullify the order of the Tribunal impinging on the judicial  power
of the State.
PUCL
101.        In People’s Union for Civil  Liberties  (PUCL)15,  the  question
under consideration before the three-Judge  Bench  of  this  Court  was  the
validity of the Representation of the People  (Amendment)  Ordinance,  2002.
The amendment followed  the  decision  of  this  Court  in  Association  for
Democratic Reforms[40]. M.B. Shah, J. speaking for the majority noticed  the
earlier decisions of this Court in P. Sambamurthy39, Cauvery  reference18  ,
Municipal Corporation of the  City  of  Ahmedabad16,  Prithvi  Cotton11  and
Mahal Chand Sethia36 and stated :
      “The Legislature can change the basis on which a decision is  rendered
      by this Court and change the law in general. However, this  power  can
      be  exercised  subject  to  constitutional  provision,   particularly,
      legislative competence and if it is violative  of  fundamental  rights
      enshrined in Part III of the Constitution, such law would be  void  as
      provided under Article 13 of the Constitution.  The  Legislature  also
      cannot declare any decision of a court of law to  be  void  or  of  no
      effect”.



Kesavananda Bharti, Indira Nehru Gandhi, Bal Mukund Sah and I.R. Coelho


102.         That  separation  of  powers  between  the   legislature,   the
executive and the judiciary is the basic structure of  the  Constitution  is
expressly stated by  Sikri,  C.J.  in  Kesavananda  Bharti[41].  Shelat  and
Grover, JJ. reiterating the views of Sikri,  J.  said  that  demarcation  of
power between the legislature, the executive  and  the  judiciary  could  be
regarded as basic elements of the Constitutional structure.  The  same  view
is  expressed  in  subsequent  decisions  of  this  Court  in  Indira  Nehru
Gandhi[42],  Bal  Mukund  Sah[43]  and  I.R.  Coelho[44].   The   nine-Judge
Constitution Bench in I.R. Coelho44 has described  that  equality,  rule  of
law, judicial review and separation  of  powers  form  parts  of  the  basic
structure of the Constitution.  The Court in I.R. Coelho44  said:

      “. . . . . .. Each of these concepts are intimately  connected.  There
      can be no rule of law, if there is no equality before the  law.  These
      would be meaningless if the violation was not subject to the  judicial
      review. All these would be redundant if the legislative, executive and
      judicial powers are vested in one organ. Therefore, the duty to decide
      whether the limits have been  transgressed  has  been  placed  on  the
      judiciary.”


I.N. Saksena
103.        Drawing distinction between legislative and  judicial  acts  and
functions, this Court in I.N. Saksena[45]  held  (para  21  and  22  of  the
Report):


     “21. The distinction between a “legislative” act and a  “judicial”  act
     is well known,  though  in  some  specific  instances  the  line  which
     separates one category from the other may not  be  easily  discernible.
     Adjudication of the rights of the parties according to law  enacted  by
     the legislature is a judicial function.  In  the  performance  of  this
     function, the court interprets and  gives  effect  to  the  intent  and
     mandate of the legislature as embodied in the  statute.  On  the  other
     hand, it is for the legislature to lay down the law, prescribing  norms
     of conduct which will govern parties and transactions  and  to  require
     the court to give effect to that law.
     22. While, in view of this distinction between legislative and judicial
     functions, the legislature cannot by a bare declaration, without  more,
     directly overrule, reverse or override a judicial decision, it may,  at
     any time in exercise of the plenary powers conferred on it by  Articles
     245 and 246 of the Constitution render a judicial decision  ineffective
     by enacting a valid  law  on  a  topic  within  its  legislative  field
     fundamentally altering or  changing  with  retrospective,  curative  or
     neutralising effect the conditions on which such decision is based.  As
     pointed out by Ray, C.J. in Indira Nehru  Gandhi  v.  Raj  Narain,  the
     rendering ineffective of judgments or orders of  competent  courts  and
     Tribunals by changing their basis by legislative enactment is  a  well-
     known pattern of all validating Acts. Such validating legislation which
     removes the causes for ineffectiveness  or  invalidity  of  actions  or
     proceedings is not an encroachment on judicial power.”

103.1.           In I.N.  Saksena45,  this  Court  referred  to  an  earlier
decision in Hari Singh[46] wherein a Bench of seven  Judges  of  this  Court
noted the two tests for judging  the  validity  of  a  validating  law:  (i)
whether the legislature possesses competence over the  subject-matter,  and,
(ii) whether by validation, the legislature has  removed  the  defect  which
the courts have found in the previous law. While following these two  tests,
the four-Judge Bench in I.N. Saksena45 added a third  test:  whether  it  is
consistent with the provisions of Part III of the Constitution.

P. Kannadasan
104.         Prithvi  Cotton11  has  been  followed  in  Hindustan  Gum  and
Chemicals[47], Vijay Mills Company[48] and P. Kannadasan[49].    It  is  not
necessary to burden this judgment with all the three judgments  as,  in  our
view, reference to one of them, i.e., P. Kannadasan49 will suffice.   In  P.
Kannadasan49 this Court noted that the Constitution of India recognised  the
doctrine of separation of powers between the  three  organs  of  the  State,
namely, the legislature, the executive and the judiciary.  The Court said :
      “15.……. It must be remembered that  our  Constitution  recognises  and
      incorporates the doctrine of separation of powers  between  the  three
      organs of the State, viz., the  Legislature,  the  Executive  and  the
      Judiciary. Even though the Constitution has adopted the  parliamentary
      form of government where the dividing line between the legislature and
      the executive becomes thin, the theory  of  separation  of  powers  is
      still valid. Ours is also a federal form of government.  The  subjects
      in respect of which the  Union  and  the  States  can  make  laws  are
      separately set out in List I and List II of the  Seventh  Schedule  to
      the Constitution respectively. (List III is, of course,  a  concurrent
      list.) The Constitution has invested the Supreme Court and High Courts
      with the power to invalidate laws made by  Parliament  and  the  State
      Legislatures transgressing the constitutional  limitations.  Where  an
      Act made by a State Legislature is invalidated by the  courts  on  the
      ground that the State Legislature was not competent to enact  it,  the
      State Legislature cannot enact a law declaring that  the  judgment  of
      the court shall not operate; it cannot overrule or annul the  decision
      of the court. But this does not mean that the other legislature  which
      is competent to  enact  that  law  cannot  enact  that  law.  It  can.
      Similarly, it is open to a legislature  to  alter  the  basis  of  the
      judgment as pointed out by this Court in  Shri  Prithvi  Cotton  Mills
      Ltd. v. Broach Borough Municipality— all the  while  adhering  to  the
      constitutional limitations; in such a case, the decision of the  court
      becomes ineffective in the sense that  the  basis  upon  which  it  is
      rendered, is changed. The new law or the amended law so  made  can  be
      challenged on other grounds but not on the ground  that  it  seeks  to
      ineffectuate or circumvent the decision of the court. This is what  is
      meant by “checks and balances” inherent  in  a  system  of  government
      incorporating the concept of separation of  powers.  This  aspect  has
      been  repeatedly  emphasised  by  this  Court  in  numerous  decisions
      commencing from Shri Prithvi Cotton  Mills.  Under  our  Constitution,
      neither wing is superior to the other. Each wing derives its power and
      jurisdiction from the  Constitution.  Each  must  operate  within  the
      sphere allotted to it. Trying to make one wing superior to  the  other
      would be to introduce an imbalance in the system and a negation of the
      basic concept of separation  of  powers  inherent  in  our  system  of
      government……..”

Indian Aluminium Company
105.         In  Indian  Aluminium  Company[50],  one  of  the   contentions
addressed to this Court was that the Kerala  legislature  had  no  power  to
enact Section 11 of the impugned Act validating the levy with  retrospective
effect as it amounted to encroachment upon judicial  power  of  the  courts.
While dealing with this contention, the Court referred to earlier  decisions
of this Court and culled out the following principles (para  56;  Pgs.  662-
663 of the Report):
      “(1) The adjudication of the rights of the parties  is  the  essential
      judicial function. Legislature has to lay down the norms of conduct or
      rules which will govern the parties and the transactions  and  require
      the court to give effect to them;
      (2) The Constitution delineated delicate balance in  the  exercise  of
      the sovereign power by the legislature, executive and judiciary;
      (3) In a democracy governed by rule of law, the legislature  exercises
      the power under Articles 245 and 246 and other companion articles read
      with the entries in the respective lists in the  Seventh  Schedule  to
      make the law which includes power to amend the law.
       (4) Courts in their concern and endeavour to preserve judicial  power
      equally must be guarded to maintain the delicate  balance  devised  by
      the Constitution between the three sovereign functionaries.  In  order
      that rule of law permeates  to  fulfil  constitutional  objectives  of
      establishing an egalitarian social  order,  the  respective  sovereign
      functionaries need free play in their joints  so  that  the  march  of
      social progress and order remains unimpeded. The smooth balance  built
      with delicacy must always be maintained;
      (5) In its anxiety to safeguard judicial power, it is  unnecessary  to
      be overzealous and conjure up incursion  into  the  judicial  preserve
      invalidating the valid law competently made;
      (6) The court, therefore, needs to carefully scan the law to find out:
      (a) whether the vice pointed out by the court and invalidity  suffered
      by previous law is cured complying with the legal  and  constitutional
      requirements; (b) whether the legislature has competence  to  validate
      the law; (c) whether such validation is  consistent  with  the  rights
      guaranteed in Part III of the Constitution.
      (7) The court does not have the power to validate an invalid law or to
      legalise impost of tax illegally made and collected or to  remove  the
      norm of invalidation or provide  a  remedy.  These  are  not  judicial
      functions but the exclusive province of  the  legislature.  Therefore,
      they are not encroachment on judicial power.
      (8)  In  exercising  legislative  power,  the  legislature   by   mere
      declaration, without anything more, cannot directly  overrule,  revise
      or override a judicial  decision.  It  can  render  judicial  decision
      ineffective by enacting valid law on the topic within its  legislative
      field   fundamentally   altering    or    changing    its    character
      retrospectively. The changed or altered conditions are such  that  the
      previous decision would not have been rendered by the court, if  those
      conditions had existed at the time of declaring the law as invalid. It
      is also empowered to give effect to retrospective legislation  with  a
      deeming date or with effect from a particular  date.  The  legislature
      can change the character of the tax  or  duty  from  impermissible  to
      permissible tax but the tax or levy should answer such  character  and
      the legislature is competent to recover  the  invalid  tax  validating
      such a tax on removing the invalid base for recovery from the  subject
      or render the recovery from the State ineffectual. It is competent for
      the legislature  to  enact  the  law  with  retrospective  effect  and
      authorise its agencies to levy and collect the tax on that basis, make
      the imposition of levy collected and recovery of the tax  made  valid,
      notwithstanding the declaration by the court or  the  direction  given
      for recovery thereof.
       (9) The consistent thread that runs through all the decisions of this
      Court is that the legislature cannot directly overrule the decision or
      make a direction as not binding on  it  but  has  power  to  make  the
      decision ineffective by removing the base on which  the  decision  was
      rendered,  consistent  with  the  law  of  the  Constitution  and  the
      legislature must have competence to do the same.”

Arooran Sugars
106.        In Arooran Sugars[51], the matter reached this  Court  from  the
judgment of the Madras High  Court.   Before  the  Madras  High  Court,  the
challenge was laid to the  constitutional  validity  of  T.N.  Land  Reforms
(Fixation of Ceiling on Land) Amendment Act, 1978 on diverse  grounds.   The
Division Bench of the Madras High Court  allowed  the  writ  petitions.  The
State of Tamil Nadu being not satisfied with that judgment  approached  this
Court. While dealing with the power of  the  legislature,  the  Constitution
Bench of this Court observed:  “The  power  of  the  legislature  to  amend,
delete or obliterate a statute  or  to  enact  a  statute  prospectively  or
retrospectively cannot be questioned and challenged unless the court  is  of
the  view  that  such  exercise  is  in  violation  of  Article  14  of  the
Constitution. It need not be impressed that whenever any  Act  or  amendment
is brought in force retrospectively or any provision of the Act  is  deleted
retrospectively, in this process rights of some are  bound  to  be  affected
one way or the other. In every case, it cannot be urged  that  the  exercise
by the  legislature  while  introducing  a  new  provision  or  deleting  an
existing provision with retrospective effect per se shall  be  violative  of
Article 14 of  the  Constitution.  If  that  stand  is  accepted,  then  the
necessary corollary shall be that legislature  has  no  power  to  legislate
retrospectively, because in that  event  a  vested  right  is  effected;  of
course, in a special situation this Court has held that  such  exercise  was
violative of Article 14 of the Constitution……..” .  The  Constitution  Bench
held that the provisions of the impugned Act do not purport  to  affect  any
vested or acquired right, it only restores the position which  existed  when
the principal Act was in force.  It further held that the Amending  Act  did
not ask the instrumentalities of the  State  to  disobey  or  disregard  the
decision given by the High Court but  what  it  has  done  is  that  it  has
removed the basis of its decision.

Elphinstone Spinning and Weaving Company
107.        The Constitution Bench of this  Court  in  Elphinstone  Spinning
and Weaving Company33  laid down: (a) there is  always  a  presumption  that
the legislature  does  not  exceed  its  jurisdiction,  (b)  the  burden  of
establishing that the legislature has transgressed  constitutional  mandates
is always on the person who challenges its vires, and (c) unless it  becomes
clear  beyond  reasonable  doubt  that  the  legislation  in  question   has
transgressed the constitutional limits, it must be allowed to stand.

Dharam Dutt
108.        The principle that the doctrine of  colorable  legislation  does
not involve bona fides or mala fides on  the  part  of  the  legislature  is
highlighted  by  this  Court  in  Dharam  Dutt[52].   Relying  upon  earlier
decisions in K.C. Gajapati Narayan Deo[53] and  Ayurvedic  and  Unani  Tibia
College[54], the Court in                  Dharam Dutt52 further observed  :

      “16……The whole doctrine resolves  itself  into  the  question  of  the
      competency of a particular legislature to enact a particular  law.  If
      the legislature is competent to pass a  particular  law,  the  motives
      which impelled it to act are really irrelevant. On the other hand,  if
      the legislature lacks competency, the  question  of  motive  does  not
      arise at all. We  will,  therefore,  concentrate  on  the  legislative
      competence  of  Parliament  to  enact  the  impugned  legislation.  If
      Parliament has the requisite competence to enact the impugned Act, the
      enquiry into the motive which persuaded Parliament  into  passing  the
      Act would be of no use at all.”

108.1.           On the question of the effect of the previous  judgment  of
the High Court on the impugned legislation,  this  Court  in  Dharam  Dutt52
referred  to  Madan  Mohan  Pathak14,  Prithvi  Cotton11,  Indian  Aluminium
Company50, Indira Nehru Gandhi42 and other decisions of this Court and  held
in paragraph 69 (pg. 753) of the Report as follows:
      “69.  That  decision  of  the  learned  Single  Judge  was  not   left
      unchallenged. In fact, the correctness of the judgment of the  learned
      Single Judge was put in issue by the Union of India by filing an intra-
      court appeal. Filing  of  an  appeal  destroys  the  finality  of  the
      judgment under appeal. The issues determined  by  the  learned  Single
      Judge were open for consideration before the Division Bench.  However,
      the Division Bench was denied  the  opportunity  of  hearing  and  the
      aggrieved party could also not press for decision  of  the  appeal  on
      merits,  as  before  the  appeal  could  be  heard  it  was   rendered
      infructuous on account  of  the  Ordinance  itself  having  ceased  to
      operate. The Union of India, howsoever it may have felt  aggrieved  by
      the pronouncement of the learned Single  Judge,  had  no  remedy  left
      available to it to pursue. The judgment of the Division Bench refusing
      to dwell upon the correctness of the judgment of the Single Judge  had
      the effect of leaving the matter at large. Upon  the  lapsing  of  the
      earlier Ordinance pending an  appeal  before  a  Division  Bench,  the
      judgment of the Single Judge  about  the  illegality  of  the  earlier
      Ordinance, cannot any longer bar this Court from  deciding  about  the
      validity of a fresh law on its own  merits,  even  if  the  fresh  law
      contains similar provisions.”

108.2.           The Court, however, did not invalidate  the  impugned  Act.
This is what the court said in para 70 (pg.753) of the Report:
      “…The  doctrine  of  separation  of  powers  and  the   constitutional
      convention of the three organs of the State, having regard and respect
      for each other, is enough answer to the plea raised on behalf  of  the
      petitioners founded on the doctrine of separation of powers. We cannot
      strike down a legislation which we have  on  an  independent  scrutiny
      held  to  be  within  the  legislative  competence  of  the   enacting
      legislature merely because the legislature  has  re-enacted  the  same
      legal  provisions  into  an  Act  which,  ten   years   before,   were
      incorporated in an Ordinance and were found to be unconstitutional  in
      an erroneous judgment of the High Court and before the error could  be
      corrected in  appeal  the  Ordinance  itself  lapsed.  It  has  to  be
      remembered that by the impugned Act Parliament has not  overruled  the
      judgment of the High Court nor has it declared  the  same  law  to  be
      valid which has been pronounced to be void by the Court. It would have
      been better if before passing the Bill into an Act  the  attention  of
      Parliament was specifically invited to the factum of an  earlier  pari
      materia Ordinance having been  annulled  by  the  High  Court.  If  an
      Ordinance invalidated by the High Court is still  re-enacted  into  an
      Act after the pronouncement by the  High  Court,  the  subsequent  Act
      would be liable to be annulled once again on  finding  that  the  High
      Court was right in taking the view of the illegality of the Ordinance,
      which it did. However, as we have already  stated,  this  is  not  the
      position obtaining in the present case. The impugned Act is not liable
      to be  annulled  on  the  ground  of  violation  of  the  doctrine  of
      separation of powers.”


Virender Singh Hooda (II)
109.        In Virender Singh Hooda (II)[55], this Court was concerned  with
the validity  of  Haryana  Civil  Services  (Executive)  Branch  and  Allied
Services and other Services,  Common/Combined  Examination  Act,  2002  (for
short, ‘the Act’). The contention of the petitioners in that case  was  that
the Act amounted to usurpation of judicial power by  the  State  legislature
with a view to overrule the decisions of this Court in Virender Singh  Hooda
(I)[56] and Sandeep Singh[57]. Having  regard  to  the  contentions  of  the
petitioners, one of the questions framed  by  the  Court  for  determination
was, whether the Act, to the extent of its retrospectivity, is  ultra  vires
as it amounts to usurpation of judicial power by the  State  legislature  or
it removes the basis of decisions in Virender Singh Hooda (I)56 and  Sandeep
Singh57 cases. The Court noted that one of the facets of the question  under
consideration was whether a writ of Mandamus can be made ineffective  by  an
enactment of the legislature. Dealing with the legislative power, the  Court
observed, “The legislative power to make law with  retrospective  effect  is
well recognised. It is also well-settled that though the legislature has  no
power to sit over Court’s judgment or usurp  judicial  power,  but,  it  has
subject to the competence to make law, power to remove the basis  which  led
to the Court’s decision. The  legislature  has  power  to  enact  laws  with
retrospective effect but has no power to change a judgment of court  of  law
either retrospectively or prospectively. The  Constitution  clearly  defines
the limits of legislative power and judicial power. None can  encroach  upon
the field covered by the other. The laws made by  the  legislature  have  to
conform to the constitutional provisions ….”.
109.1       The Court further  said:   “It  is  well  settled  that  if  the
legislature has the power over the subject-matter and competence to  make  a
valid law,  it  can  at  any  time  make  such  a  valid  law  and  make  it
retrospectively so as to bind even past  transactions.  The  validity  of  a
validating law, therefore, depends upon whether  the  legislature  possesses
the competence which it claims  over  the  subject  matter  and  whether  in
making the validation it removes the defect which the courts  had  found  in
the existing law”.
109.2.      The Court also said :  “It  is  equally  well-settled  that  the
legislature cannot by a bare declaration, without  anything  more,  directly
overrule, reverse or override a judicial decision; it may, at  any  time  in
exercise of the plenary power conferred on it by the Constitution  render  a
judicial decision ineffective by enacting a valid law on a topic within  its
legislative field, fundamentally altering or  changing  with  retrospective,
curative or neutralizing effect the conditions on  which  such  decision  is
based……”
109.3.      While drawing distinction between encroachment on  the  judicial
power and the  nullification  of  the  effect  of  a  judicial  decision  by
changing the law retrospectively, the Court referred to Tirath Ram  Rajinder
Nath[58]  and  stated,  “the  former  is  outside  the  competence  of   the
legislature but the latter is within its permissible limits. The reason  for
this  lies  in  the  concept  of  separation  of  powers  adopted   by   our
constitutional scheme.  The  adjudication  of  the  rights  of  the  parties
according to law is a judicial function. The legislature  has  to  lay  down
the  law  prescribing  norms  of  conduct  which  will  govern  parties  and
transactions and to require the court to give effect to that law”.
109.4.      Relying upon a decision of this  Court  in  S.S.  Bola[59],  the
Court in  Virender Singh Hooda (II)55 said :
      “49. When a particular rule or the Act is interpreted by  a  court  of
      law in a specified manner  and  the  law-making  authority  forms  the
      opinion that such an interpretation would adversely affect the  rights
      of the parties and would be grossly iniquitous and accordingly  a  new
      set of rules or laws is enacted, it is very often  challenged  on  the
      ground that the legislature has usurped the judicial power. In such  a
      case the court has a delicate function to examine the new set of  laws
      enacted by the legislature  and  to  find  out  whether  in  fact  the
      legislature has exercised the legislative power by merely declaring an
      earlier judicial  decision  to  be  invalid  and  ineffective  or  the
      legislature has altered and changed the character of  the  legislation
      which ultimately may render the judicial decision ineffective.”

Liyanage
110.        Having surveyed good number of decisions of this  Court  on  the
separation of powers doctrine, it is time  that  we  consider  some  leading
foreign judgments on this aspect.  The first judgment in this category  that
deserves consideration, which was also  referred  to  by  Mr.  Vinod  Bobde,
learned  senior  counsel  for  Tamil  Nadu  is  Liyanage12.   The  facts  in
Liyanage12 provide a classic example of usurpation of judicial  function  by
the legislature in a pending case.  In that case, the Judicial Committee  of
the Privy Council held that the Criminal Law (Special Provisions) Act No.  1
of 1962 usurped and infringed judicial power and  was,  therefore,  invalid.
This Act modified the  Criminal  Procedure  Code  applicable  in  Ceylon  by
purporting to legalise ex-post facto the detention of persons imprisoned  in
respect of an attempted coup, to widen  the  class  of  offences  for  which
trial by three Judges, nominated by the Minister of Justice sitting  without
a jury, could be ordered  to  validate  retrospective  arrests  for  certain
offences made without warrant and to prescribe  new  minimum  penalties  for
the offence of waging war against the Queen.  The legislation  was  held  to
involve “a grave and deliberate incursion into the  judicial  sphere”  which
was inconsistent with the separation  of  judicial  power  from  legislative
power required by the Constitution of Ceylon.   Liyanage12 effectively  lays
down  that  judicial  power  is  usurped  (i)  when  there  is   legislative
interference in a specific proceeding, (ii)  the  interference  affects  the
pending litigation and (iii) the interference affects the  judicial  process
itself, i.e., the discretion or judgment of the  judiciary  or  the  rights,
authority or jurisdiction of the Court.  Liyanage12 inter  alia  holds  that
powers in case of countries with written Constitutions must be exercised  in
accordance with the terms of  Constitution  from  which  they  are  derived.
Making  observations  on  the  true  nature  and  purpose  of  the  impugned
enactment, Liyanage12 says  that  alterations  made  by  Parliament  in  the
function of the judiciary constituted a grave and  deliberate  incursion  in
the judicial sphere.  It  is  worth  noticing  the  following  passage  from
Liyanage12 :
            “If such Acts as these were valid the judicial  power  could  be
      wholly absorbed by the Legislature and taken out of the hands  of  the
      Judges.  It is appreciated that the Legislature has  no  such  general
      intention.  It was beset by  a  grave  situation  and  it  took  grave
      measures to deal with it, thinking, one  must  presume,  that  it  had
      power to do so and was acting  rightly.   But  that  consideration  is
      irrelevant,  and  gives  no  validity  to  acts  which  infringe   the
      Constitution.  What is done once, if it be allowed, may be done  again
      and in a lesser crisis  and  less  serious  circumstances.   And  thus
      judicial power may be eroded.  Such an  erosion  is  contrary  to  the
      clear intention of the Constitution.”



110.1.            Liyanage12  is  based  on   the   principle   of   implied
limitations on the legislative power.  This position is accepted by our  own
Court in Kesavananda Bharati41 (per Shelat and Grover, JJ.).
Nicholas
111.             As regards the constitutional  position  in  Australia,  it
needs to be mentioned that Australia  has  a  Constitution  with  the  rigid
demarcation of powers between the legislative and  judicial  organs  of  the
Government. The  Australian  Constitution  has  imperatively  separated  the
three branches of the Government, and has  assigned  to  each,  by  its  own
authority the appropriate organ.
112.             In Nicholas[60], the High Court of Australia, dealing  with
the infringement and usurpation of judicial power, held the  legislation  to
be invalid on the ground that it revised the final  judgment  of  a  federal
court in breach of separation  of  powers.  It  lays  down  that  usurpation
occurs when the legislature has exercised judicial power on its own behalf.

Wheeling Bridge
113.        The decision of  the  US  Supreme  Court  in  Wheeling  Bridge29
deserves a little elaborate consideration since a  great  deal  of  reliance
has been placed by Mr. Harish Salve on this judgment.  The dispute  in  that
case concerned navigation on  the  Ohio  River.   In  the  earlier  decision
involving the same parties, the U.S. Supreme Court had held the  defendant’s
bridge to be  an  unlawful  structure  to  the  extent  that  it  obstructed
navigation on the Ohio River in breach of the federal statutes  and  thereby
obstructing public right of free  navigation.   The  State  of  Pennsylvania
which filed the suit  was  granted  an  injunctive  relief.   The  defendant
(Wheeling and Belmont Bridge Company) was ordered to remove the  bridge,  or
elevate it to the levels  prescribed  by  statute.   Subsequently,  Congress
enacted legislation by which the bridge was rendered a lawful structure  and
ships were mandated to be modified so as not to interfere with  the  bridge.
As the luck would have been, the bridge was destroyed by  high  winds.   The
State of Pennsylvania applied for injunction from reconstructing the  bridge
except in a manner consistent with the order of the court  in  the  previous
proceedings which was granted.  The company  despite  the  injunction  order
proceeded to construct the bridge lower than that required by  the  original
court order.  The State of Pennsylvania brought the matter again before  the
court.  The defendant relied upon the federal  statute  which  declared  the
original bridge lawful, and  argued  that  the  requirements  for  a  lawful
structure were set out therein, rendering  the  requirements  on  which  the
original  judgment  was  based  redundant.   The  question  that  arose  for
consideration was whether the statute that overturned the final judgment  of
the US Supreme Court in the form of  injunction  in  the  earlier  suit  was
constitutional?  Nelson, J., who  delivered  the  majority  opinion  of  the
court, accepted the general proposition that an act of Congress cannot  have
the effect and  operation  to  annul  the  judgment  of  the  court  already
rendered, or the rights thereby determined.  It was  further  observed  that
adjudications upon the private rights of the parties which have passed  into
judgment, become absolute and it is the duty of the  court  to  enforce  it.
Nelson, J. held: “But that part of the decree  directing  the  abatement  of
the obstruction, is executory, a continuing decree, which requires not  only
the  removal  of  the  bridge  but  enjoins  the  defendants   against   any
reconstruction or continuance.  Now, whether it  is  a  future  existing  or
continuing  obstruction  depends  upon  the  question  whether  or  not   it
interferes with the right of navigation.  If, in the mean  time,  since  the
decree, this right has been modified by the  competent  authority,  so  that
the bridge is no longer an unlawful  obstruction,  it  is  quite  plain  the
decree  of  the  court  cannot  be  enforced.   There  is  no   longer   any
interference with the enjoyment of the public right inconsistent  with  law,
no more than there would be where the plaintiff  himself  had  consented  to
it, after the rendition of the decree…….”  Nelson, J., opined that  although
bridge could still  be  an  obstruction  in  fact  but  it  was  not  so  in
contemplation of the law. Consequently, the court  vacated  its  injunction.
Nelson, J. distinguished adjudication upon private rights from  adjudication
upon public rights and held :

      “In respect to these purely internal streams of a  State,  the  public
      right of navigation is exclusively under the control and regulation of
      the  state  legislature;  and  in  cases  where  these  erections   or
      obstructions to the navigation are constructed  under  a  law  of  the
      State, or sanctioned by legislative  authority,  they  are  neither  a
      public nuisance subject to abatement, nor is the  individual  who  may
      have sustained special damage from their interference with the  public
      use entitled to any remedy for his loss. So far as the public  use  of
      the stream is concerned, the legislature having the power  to  control
      and regulate it, the statute authorizing the structure, though it  may
      be a real impediment to the navigation, makes it lawful.”


113.1.           The opinion of Nelson, J., which  is  majority  opinion  in
The Wheeling  Bridge29   though  maintains  the  general  principle  of  the
inviolability of final  judgments  pursuant  to  the  separation  of  powers
doctrine but it  is  made  subject  to  qualification  that  unlike  private
rights, public rights do  not  pass  into  judgments.   In  the  opinion  of
Nelson, J., the nature of judicial remedy is relevant;  an equitable  relief
 such as injunction is not beyond the reach of the  power  of  the  congress
but a decree of damages or costs is unaffected by the subsequent law.
113.2.              McLean, J., who dissented from the majority opinion,  on
the other hand, emphasized in  Wheeling Bridge29  that  the  earlier  decree
was the result of a judicial investigation, founded upon  facts  ascertained
in the course of the hearing and it was strictly a  judicial  question.  The
complaint was an obstruction of commerce, by the bridge, to  the  injury  of
the complainant, and the court found the fact to be as alleged in the  bill.
 Following the statement of Chief Justice Marshall that  congress  could  do
many things but that it cannot alter a  fact,  McLean,  J.  in  his  opinion
stated :
      “The judicial power  is  exercised  in  the  decision  of  cases;  the
      legislative, in making general regulations by the enactment  of  laws.
      The latter acts from considerations of public policy;  the  former  by
      the pleadings and evidence in a case. From this view  it  is  at  once
      seen, that congress could not  undertake  to  hear  the  complaint  of
      Pennsylvania in this case, take testimony or cause  it  to  be  taken,
      examine the surveys and reports of engineers, decide the questions  of
      law which arise on the admission of the testimony, and give the proper
      and legal effect to the evidence in the final decree. To  do  this  is
      the appropriate duty of the judicial power. And this is what was  done
      by this court, before the above act of congress was passed. The  court
      held, that the bridge obstructed the navigation of the Ohio River, and
      that, consequently, it was a nuisance. The act declared the bridge  to
      be a legal structure, and, consequently, that it was not  a  nuisance.
      Now, is this a legislative or a judicial act? Whether it be a nuisance
      or not, depends upon the fact of obstruction; and this would  seem  to
      be strictly a judicial question, to be decided on evidence produced by
      the parties in a case.”

113.3.           In the minority opinion, McLean. J.  declared  the  act  of
the Congress inoperative and void and reiterated that decree already  passed
be carried into effect according to its true intent.
113.4.           In another minority opinion in  Wheeling  Bridge29,  Wayne,
J., while dissenting with the majority and concurring with McLean J.  stated
that Congress had no power to  interfere  with  the  judgment  of  the  U.S.
Supreme Court under the pretence of a power to  legalize  the  structure  of
bridges over the public  navigable  rivers  of  the  United  States,  either
within the States,  or  dividing  States  from  each  other,  or  under  the
commercial powers of Congress to regulate commerce among the States.

Clinton Bridge
114.        Nelson,J., who delivered majority opinion in Wheeling  Bridge29,
also delivered opinion of the U.S. Supreme Court in  the  Clinton  Bridge30.
Although in Wheeling Bridge29 a  decree  had  been  rendered  by  the  court
against the bridge, while in the Clinton  Bridge30  the  cause  was  pending
undecided, but he followed the majority opinion in Wheeling Bridge29.

Manigault
115.        Mr. Harish  Salve, learned counsel  for  the  State  of  Kerala,
placed reliance upon Arthur M. Manigault21.  In that case, the U.S.  Supreme
Court followed the principle that interdiction  of  the  statutes  impairing
the obligation of contracts does not prevent the State from exercising  such
powers as are vested in it for the promotion of  the  common  weal,  or  are
necessary for the general good of the public,  though  contracts  previously
entered  into  between  individuals  may  thereby   be   affected.     While
explaining that this power  is  known  as  the  ‘police  power’,  it  is  an
exercise of the sovereign right of the  Government  to  protect  the  lives,
health,  morals,  comfort,  and  general  welfare  of  the  people,  and  is
paramount to any right under the contracts between the  individuals.  It  is
stated  that  subject  to  limitations  in  certain  cases,  there  is  wide
discretion on the part of the legislature in determining what  is  and  what
is not necessary.  In  such  discretion,  the  courts  ordinarily  will  not
interfere with. Dealing with the exposition of law,  flowing  from  some  of
its previous decisions, the U.S. Supreme Court, observed:

      “…….We see no reason why the same principle should not apply to  cases
      where the state legislature, exercising its police  power,  directs  a
      certain dam to be built, and thereby incidentally  impairs  access  to
      lands above the dam. In both cases the  sovereign  is  exercising  its
      constitutional right, in one case in improving the navigation  of  the
      river, and in  the  other,  in  draining  its  lowlands,  and  thereby
      enhancing their value for agricultural purposes.”



Hodges
116.         In  Hodges31,  the  U.S.  Supreme  Court,  following   Wheeling
Bridge29 held as follows :-
      “In the Wheeling Bridge Case, as  in  the  Clinton  Bridge  Case,  the
      public right involved was  that  of  abating  an  obstruction  to  the
      navigation of a river. The right involved  in  the  present  suit,  of
      enjoining the maintenance  of  an  illegal  school  district  and  the
      issuance of its bonds, is  likewise  a  public  right  shared  by  the
      plaintiffs with  all  other  resident  taxpayers.  And  while  in  the
      Wheeling Bridge Case the bill was filed by the State, although  partly
      in its proprietary  capacity  as  the  owner  of  certain  canals  and
      railways, the doctrine that a judgment declaring a public right may be
      annulled by subsequent legislation, applies with  like  force  in  the
      present suit, although brought by individuals primarily for their  own
      benefit; the right involved and adjudged, in the one case  as  in  the
      other, being public, and not private.”




116.1.      Hodges31 was a case where the U.S. Supreme  Court  dissolved  an
injunction  against  the  formation  of  a  consolidated   school   district
following legislation which authorised such a consolidation, and yet  upheld
the judgment in the previous decision making to an award of damages.

Brotherhood of Locomotive Firemen

117.        In Brotherhood of Locomotive Firemen23, the U.S.  Supreme  Court
was confronted with the  question  whether  the  Arkansas  “full-crew”  laws
specifying a minimum number of employees who must serve as part of  a  train
crew under  certain  circumstances,  violate  the  commerce  clause  or  the
Fourteenth Amendment of the  U.S.  Constitution.  The  constitutionality  of
these Arkansas Laws had been specifically upheld  against  challenges  under
the same constitutional provisions  in  three  decisions  earlier.  However,
from the case that reached the U.S. Supreme Court, the District Court  found
that as a result of economic  and  technical  developments  since  the  last
decision on the subject, the statutes were no  longer  justified  as  safety
measures - the ground on  which  they  had  formerly  been  sustained.   The
Supreme Court of United States struck down the impugned laws as contrary  to
the commerce clause of the Constitution and the due process  clause  of  the
Fourteenth Amendment. Black, J., who delivered the opinion on behalf of  the
majority, held that the District Court indulged in  a  legislative  judgment
wholly beyond its limited authority to review state  legislation  under  the
commerce clause. The Court said that it was not open for the District  Court
to place a value on the additional safety in terms of dollars and  cents  in
order to see whether this value as calculated  by  the  Court  exceeded  the
financial cost to the rail roads. The majority view, thus, concluded:

      “Under all the circumstances we see no  reason  to  depart  from  this
      Court’s previous decisions holding that the Arkansas   full-crew  laws
      do not unduly burden interstate  commerce  or  otherwise  violate  the
      Constitution.  Undoubtedly  heated disputes will continue  as  to  the
      extent to which these laws  contribute  to  safety  and  other  public
      interests, and the extent to which such contributions are justified by
      the cost of the additional manpower.  These disputes will continue  to
      be worked out in the legislatures and in various forms  of  collective
      bargaining between   management and the unions. As we have  said  many
      times,  Congress unquestionably  has power under the  Commerce  Clause
      to regulate the number of employees who shall be used  to  man  trains
      used  in interstate commerce.  In the absence of congressional action,
      however, we cannot  invoke  the  judicial  power  to  invalidate  this
      judgment of the people of Arkansas and their  elected  representatives
      as to the price society should pay  to promote safety in the  railroad
      industry……”



Raymond Motor Transportation
118.        Two more decisions of the  U.S.  Supreme  Court,  one,   Raymond
Motor  Transportation24   and  the  other,  Raymond  Kassel25  may  now   be
considered.  Raymond Motor Transportation24 was concerned with the  question
whether administrative regulations of the State of Wisconsin  governing  the
length and configuration of contracts that may be operated within the  state
violated the commerce clause. The three-Judge District Court held  that  the
regulations were not unconstitutional on either ground. Upsetting  the  view
of the District Court, Powell, J., who delivered the opinion  of  the  Court
first noted the general rule, “…… Where the statute  regulates  evenhandedly
to effectuate a  legitimate  local  public  interest,  and  its  effects  on
interstate commerce are only  incidental,  it  will  be  upheld  unless  the
burden imposed on such commerce is clearly  excessive  in  relation  to  the
putative local benefits”. Powell, J., then  concluded  that  the  challenged
regulations violated the commerce clause because they placed  a  substantial
burden on interstate commerce and they cannot be  said  to  make  more  than
most speculative contribution to highway safety.
118.1.       Blackmun,  J.,  with  whom  Brennan,  CJ.  and  Rehnquist,   J.
concurred, held that if  safety justifications were not illusory, the  Court
will  not  second-guess  legislative  judgment  about  their  importance  in
comparison with related burdens on interstate  commerce.  Blackmun  J,  also
held :

      “Here, the Court does not engage in a balance of policies it does  not
      make a legislative  choice.   Instead,  after  searching  the  factual
      record  developed  by  the  parties,  it  concludes  that  the  safety
      interests have not been shown to exist as a matter of law.”

Raymond Kassel
119.        In Raymond Kassel25, after recording evidence and conclusion  of
trial, the District  Court  applied  the  standard  which  was  accepted  in
Raymond  Motor  Transportation24  and   concluded   that   the   state   law
impermissibly  created  burden  on   inter-state  commerce.   The  Court  of
appeals accepted the District Court’s findings and the  view.  This  is  how
the  matter reached the U.S. Supreme Court. Powell, J.,  who  delivered  the
opinion of the Court in  which  White,  Blackmun  and  Stevens  JJ.  joined,
observed: “while Supreme Court has been most reluctant to  invalidate  state
regulations   that   touch   upon   safety,   especially   highway   safety,
constitutionality of such regulations nevertheless  depends  upon  sensitive
consideration of weight and nature of state regulatory concern in  light  of
extent of burden imposed on course of interstate commerce”.
119.1.      Brennan, J., with whom  Marshall,  J.  joined,  concurring  with
the judgment observed : “This Court’s heightened deference to the  judgments
of state law makers in the field of safety  is  largely  attributable  to  a
judicial disinclination to  weigh  the  interest  of  safety  against  other
societal interests, such as the  economic  interest  in  the  free  flow  of
commerce………..”

Plaut

120.        The judgment of  the  US  Supreme  Court  in  Plaut[61]  on  the
doctrine of separation of powers is  significant  and  deserves  appropriate
consideration.  In that case, the US Supreme Court was  presented  with  the
question whether Section 27A(b) of the Securities  Exchange  Act,  1934  was
violative of the Constitution’s separation of  powers  or  the  due  process
clause of the Fifth Amendment to the extent it required  Federal  Courts  to
reopen final judgments in private civil actions under Section 10(b)  of  the
Act. Scalia, J.,  who  delivered  the  majority  opinion,  referred  to  the
following  First  Inaugural  Address  by  President  Lincoln  in  which  the
President explained why the political  branches  could  not,  and  need  not
interfere with the judgment :

      "I do not forget the position assumed  by  some,  that  constitutional
      questions are to be decided by the Supreme Court; nor do I  deny  that
      such decisions must be binding in any case,  upon  the  parties  to  a
      suit, as to the object of that suit . . . . And while it is  obviously
      possible that such decision may be erroneous in any given case,  still
      the evil  effect  following  it,  being  limited  to  that  particular
      case,  with the chance that it may be over-ruled, and never  become  a
      precedent for other cases, can better be borne than could the evils of
      a different practice."


120.1.      Scalia, J. also referred  to  the  views  of  Thomas  Cooley  (a
constitutional Scholar) who had said :

      "If the legislature cannot thus indirectly control the action  of  the
      courts, by requiring of them a construction of the  law  according  to
      its own views, it is very plain it cannot do so directly,  by  setting
      aside their judgments, compelling them to grant new  trials,  ordering
      the discharge of offenders, or directing what particular  steps  shall
      be taken in the progress of a judicial inquiry."

120.2.      Scalia J, observed that the power to analyze  a  final  judgment
was “an assumption of judicial power” and,  therefore,  forbidden.  Finality
rule was  given  pre-eminence.  This  becomes  evident  from  his  following
observations: “……Having achieved  finality,  however,  a  judicial  decision
becomes  the  last  word  of  the  judicial  department  with  regard  to  a
particular case or controversy, and Congress may not declare by  retroactive
legislation that the law applicable to that very case  was  something  other
than what the courts said it was…..”
120.3.      In Plaut61, the majority opinion also holds that  considerations
such as that legislation was motivated by a  genuine  concern  to  implement
public  policy  was  irrelevant.   The  majority  opinion   exposited   that
prohibition (separation of power) was  violated  when  an  individual  final
judgment is legislatively rescinded for even the best of  reasons,  such  as
legislature’s genuine conviction (supported by all the professionals in  the
land) that the judgment was wrong,…….”
120.4.      The US Supreme Court, thus, by majority  declared  that  Section
27A(b) of the Act was violative of the separation of the powers doctrine.


Summary of Separation of powers doctrine under the Indian Constitution

121.        On deep reflection of the above discussion, in our opinion,  the
constitutional principles in the context of Indian Constitution relating  to
separation of powers between  legislature, executive and judiciary  may,  in
brief, be summarized thus :
      (i)   Even without express provision of the separation of powers,  the
doctrine  of  separation  of  powers  is  an  entrenched  principle  in  the
Constitution of India.  The doctrine of separation  of  powers  informs  the
Indian constitutional structure and it is an essential constituent  of  rule
of law.  In other words, the doctrine of  separation  of  power  though  not
expressly  engrafted  in  the  Constitution,  its   sweep,   operation   and
visibility  are  apparent  from   the   scheme   of   Indian   Constitution.
Constitution has made demarcation, without drawing formal lines between  the
three organs - legislature, executive and judiciary.  In  that  sense,  even
in the absence of express provision for separation of power, the  separation
of power between legislature, executive and judiciary is not different  from
the constitutions of the  countries  which  contain  express  provision  for
separation of powers.

      (ii)  Independence of courts from the  executive  and  legislature  is
fundamental to the rule of law  and  one  of  the  basic  tenets  of  Indian
Constitution.  Separation of judicial power is a significant  constitutional
principle under the Constitution of India.

      (iii)  Separation  of  powers  between  three  organs  –  legislature,
executive and judiciary – is also nothing but a  consequence  of  principles
of  equality  enshrined  in  Article  14  of  the  Constitution  of   India.
Accordingly, breach of separation of judicial power may amount  to  negation
of equality under Article 14. Stated thus, a legislation can be  invalidated
on the basis of breach of the separation of  powers  since  such  breach  is
negation of equality under  Article 14 of the Constitution.

      (iv)  The superior  judiciary  (High  Courts  and  Supreme  Court)  is
empowered by the Constitution to declare  a  law  made  by  the  legislature
(Parliament  and  State  legislatures)  void  if  it  is   found   to   have
transgressed the constitutional limitations or if it  infringed  the  rights
enshrined in Part III of the Constitution.

      (v)   The doctrine of  separation  of  powers  applies  to  the  final
judgments of the courts. Legislature cannot declare any decision of a  court
of law to be void or of no effect.  It can, however, pass  an  amending  Act
to remedy the defects pointed out by a court of law or on coming to know  of
it aliunde. In other words, a court’s decision must always bind  unless  the
conditions on which it is  based  are  so  fundamentally  altered  that  the
decision could not have been given in the altered circumstances.

      (vi)  If the legislature has the power  over  the  subject-matter  and
competence to make a validating  law,  it  can  at  any  time  make  such  a
validating law and make it retrospective.   The  validity  of  a  validating
law,  therefore,  depends  upon  whether  the  legislature   possesses   the
competence which it claims over the subject-matter  and  whether  in  making
the validation law it removes the defect which the courts had found  in  the
existing law.

      (vii)   The law enacted by the legislature may apparently seem  to  be
within its competence but yet in substance if it is shown as an  attempt  to
interfere with the judicial process, such law may be  invalidated  being  in
breach of doctrine of separation of powers.  In such  situation,  the  legal
effect of the law on a judgment or a judicial proceeding  must  be  examined
closely, having  regard  to  legislative  prescription  or  direction.   The
questions to  be  asked  are,  (i)  Does  the  legislative  prescription  or
legislative direction interfere with the judicial  functions?  (ii)  Is  the
legislation  targeted at the decided case or whether impugned  law  requires
its application to a case already finally decided? (iii) What are the  terms
of law; the issues with which it deals and the nature of the  judgment  that
has attained finality?  If the answer to (i) to (ii) is in  the  affirmative
and the consideration  of  aspects  noted  in  question  (iii)  sufficiently
establishes that the impugned law interferes with  the  judicial  functions,
the Court may declare the law unconstitutional.


Analysis of the Mullaperiyar Environmental Protection Forum  Judgment  (2006
Judgment)

122.        In light of the  above  constitutional  principles  relating  to
separation of powers between legislature, executive and judiciary, we  shall
now examine the constitutional validity of the 2006 (Amendment) Act  in  its
application to and effect  on  the  Mullaperiyar  dam.   For  deciding  this
question, it is appropriate to first refer to the decision of this Court  in
Mullaperiyar Environmental Protection Forum1 at some length.  That  decision
was rendered by  this  Court  in  a  writ  petition  filed  by  Mullaperiyar
Environment Protection Forum under Article 32 of the Constitution  of  India
and few transferred cases. In that case, the  petitioner’s  claim  was  that
water level in the reservoir cannot be raised from its present level of  136
ft. That was the stand of Kerala as well. According to Kerala, the  life  of
Mullaperiyar dam was fifty years from the date of construction  but  it  had
already completed more than hundred years  and  it  had  served  its  useful
life. In Kerala's view, it was dangerous to allow raising  of  water  levels
beyond 136 ft. and serious consequences could ensue resulting in wiping  out
of three adjoining districts completely. On the other hand, Tamil  Nadu  set
up the case that as per the report of the Expert  Committee  constituted  by
this Court, the water level could be raised  upto  142  ft.  as  an  interim
measure  and  on  taking  certain  steps  and   after   execution   of   the
strengthening  measure  in  respect  of  baby  dam,  earthen  bund  and   on
completion of  remaining  portion,  water  level  could  be  allowed  to  be
restored at FRL of 152 ft. Tamil Nadu sought specific direction for  raising
water level to 142 ft. and after strengthening, to its  full  level  of  152
ft.

122.1.      The Court noted the following terms of reference  and  the  task
given to the Expert Committee:
      “(a) To study the safety of Mullaperiyar dam located on Periyar  river
      in Kerala with respect to the strengthening of dam carried out by  the
      Government of Tamil Nadu in accordance with the strengthening measures
      suggested by CWC and to report/advise the Hon’ble  Minister  of  Water
      Resources on the safety of the dam.

      (b) To advise  the  Hon’ble  Minister  of  Water  Resources  regarding
      raising of water level in Mullaperiyar reservoir beyond 136 ft  (41.45
      m) as a result of strengthening of the dam and its safety  as  at  (a)
      above.

      The Committee will visit the dam to have first-hand information and to
      assess the safety aspects of the dam. It will  hold  discussions  with
      the  Secretary,  Irrigation  of  the  Kerala  Government  as  well  as
      Secretary, PWD, Government of Tamil Nadu with respect to safety of the
      dam and other related issues.”


122.2.      Then the Court adverted to the  recommendations  of  the  Expert
Committee as follows:
      “1. The strengthening measures pertaining to baby dam and the  earthen
      bund, as already suggested by CWC and formulated by the Government  of
      Tamil Nadu, should be carried out at the earliest.

      2.  The  Government  of  Kerala  should   allow   the   execution   of
      strengthening measures of baby dam, earthen  bund  and  the  remaining
      portion of about 20 m of parapet wall on the main Mullaperiyar dam  up
      to EL 160 ft. (48.77 m) immediately.

      3. CWC will finalise the instrumentation for installation at the  main
      dam. In addition, instruments will be installed  during  strengthening
      of baby dam, including the earthen bund, so  that  monitoring  of  the
      health of Mullaperiyar dam, baby dam and earthen bund can be done on a
      continuous basis.

      4. The water level in the Mullaperiyar reservoir be raised to a  level
      where the tensile stress in the baby dam does not exceed 2.85 t/m2 (as
      suggested by Shri Parameswaran Nair, Kerala representative) especially
      in condition E (full reservoir level with earthquake) as per BIS  Code
      IS 6512-1984 with ah= 0.12 g and analysis as per clauses  3.4.2.3  and
      7.3.1 of BIS Code 1893-1984.

      5. The committee members discussed the issue of raising of water level
      above EL 136.00 ft (41.45 m) after studying the analysis of safety  of
      baby dam. Prof. A. Mohanakrishnan, Member of  Tamil  Nadu  Government,
      opined in the light of para 4 that the water level should be raised up
      to at least EL 143.00 ft (43.59 m) as the tensile stresses are  within
      the permissible limits. Shri M.K. Parameswaran Nair, Member of  Kerala
      Government did not agree to raise the water level above EL  136.00  ft
      (41.45 m). However, the Committee after  detailed  deliberations,  has
      opined that the water level in the Mullaperiyar reservoir be raised to
      EL 142.00 ft (43.28 m) which will not endanger the safety of the  main
      dam, including spillway, baby dam and earthen bund. The  abstracts  of
      the calculations for stress analysis are enclosed as Annexure XIX.

      6. This raising of reservoir level up to a  level  where  the  tensile
      stress does not exceed 2.85 t/m2 during the earthquake condition is an
      interim measure and further raising of  water  level  to  the  FRL  EL
      152.00  ft  (46.33  m)  (original  design  FRL  of  the   Mullaperiyar
      reservoir) be studied after the strengthening measures on baby dam are
      carried out and completed.”


122.3        The   Court   framed   the   following   five   questions   for
consideration:
      “1. Whether Section 108 of the  States  Reorganisation  Act,  1956  is
      unconstitutional?

      2. Whether the jurisdiction of this Court is barred in view of Article
      262 read with Section 11 of the Inter-State Water Disputes Act, 1956?

      3. Whether Article 363 of the Constitution bars  the  jurisdiction  of
      this Court?

      4. Whether disputes are liable to be referred to arbitration?

      5. Whether the raising of water level of the reservoir from 136 ft  to
      142 ft would result in jeopardising the safety of the people and  also
      degradation of the environment?”


122.4       While dealing with question No. 1, the Court, inter  alia,  held
that law making power under  Articles  3  and  4  of  the  Constitution  was
paramount and it was neither subjected to nor fettered by  Article  246  and
Lists II and III of the Seventh Schedule. The Court also held that power  of
Parliament to make law under Articles 3 and  4  was  plenary  and  traverses
over all legislative subjects as are necessary  for  effectuating  a  proper
reorganization of the states. Accordingly,  the  Court  found  no  merit  in
challenge to the validity of Section 108 of the States  Reorganisation  Act,
1956.

122.5       Dealing with question No. 2, the Court noted  that  the  dispute
relating to raising the water level in the Mullaperiyar dam was not a  water
dispute since  the  right  of  Tamil  Nadu  to  divert  water  from  Periyar
reservoir to Tamil Nadu for integrated purpose of irrigation or to  use  the
water to generate power or for other uses  was  not  in  dispute.    It  was
observed that there was no dispute about the lease granted to Tamil Nadu  in
1886 or about supplementary agreements of 1970 and that till 1979 there  was
no dispute with regard to water level at all. In 1979, the water  level  was
brought down to 136 ft. to  facilitate  Tamil  Nadu  to  carry  out  certain
strengthening measures suggested by the CWC.  The  Court,  thus,  held  that
safety of the dam on increase of water level to 142 ft. was  not  the  issue
hit by Article 262 of  the  Constitution  or  the  Inter-State  River  Water
Disputes Act, 1956.

122.6       With regard to question No. 3, the Court held that there was  no
question of the jurisdiction of this Court being barred as Article  363  has
no application to an agreement such as 1886  Lease  Agreement  which  is  an
ordinary agreement of lease and is not a political arrangement.

122.7       On question No. 4, the Court observed that present  dispute  was
not about the rights, powers and obligations or interpretation of  any  part
of the agreement but the controversy was confined to whether water level  in
the reservoir could be increased to 142 ft. for which there  was  already  a
report by an Expert Committee.

122.8       For  consideration  of  question  No.  5,  the  Court  carefully
referred to the report of the Expert Committee with regard to safety of  the
dam on water level being raised to 142 ft.  In  para  30  of  the  judgment,
this Court held as under:

      “30. Regarding the issue as to the safety of the dam  on  water  level
      being raised to 142 ft from the present level of 136 ft,  the  various
      reports  have  examined  the  safety  angle  in-depth  including   the
      viewpoint of earthquake resistance. The apprehensions have been  found
      to be  baseless.  In  fact,  the  reports  suggest  an  obstructionist
      attitude on the part of the State of Kerala. The Expert Committee  was
      comprised  of  independent  officers.  Seismic  forces  as   per   the
      provisions  were  taken  into  account  and  structural  designs  made
      accordingly while  carrying  out  strengthening  measures.  The  final
      report of the Committee set up by the  Ministry  of  Water  Resources,
      Government of India to study the water safety aspect of  the  dam  and
      raising the water  level  has  examined  the  matter  in  detail.  The
      Chairman of the Committee was a Member  (D&R)  of  the  Central  Water
      Commission, two Chief  Engineers  of  the  Central  Water  Commission,
      Director,  Dam  Safety,  Government  of  Madhya  Pradesh  and  retired
      Engineer-in-Chief, U.P. besides two representatives of the Governments
      of Tamil Nadu and Kerala, were members of the Committee. All  appended
      their signatures except the representative of the  Kerala  Government.
      The summary of the results of stability analysis of Mullaperiyar  baby
      dam contains a note which shows that the permissible tensile  strength
      was masonry as per the specifications mentioned therein based on  test
      conducted by CSMRS, Delhi on the time  and  agreed  by  all  committee
      members including the Kerala representative  in  the  meeting  of  the
      Committee held on 9/10-2-2001. It also shows the various strengthening
      measures suggested by CWC having been completed by the Tamil Nadu  PWD
      on the dam including providing of RCC backing to the dam.  The  report
      also suggests that the parapet wall of baby dam and main dam have been
      raised to 160 ft (48.77 m) except for a 20 m stretch on the  main  dam
      due to denial of permission by the Government of  Kerala.  Some  other
      works as stated therein were not allowed to be carried on by the State
      of Kerala. The report of CWC after inspection of  the  main  dam,  the
      galleries, baby dam, earthen bund and spillway, concludes that the dam
      is safe and no excessive seepage is seen and that Mullaperiyar dam has
      been recently strengthened. There are  no  visible  cracks  that  have
      occurred in the body of the dam and seepage measurements  indicate  no
      cracks in the upstream side of the dam. Our attention  has  also  been
      drawn to various documents and drawings  including  cross-sections  of
      the Periyar dam to demonstrate the strengthening measures. Further, it
      is  pertinent  to  note  that  the  dam  immediately  in  line   after
      Mullaperiyar dam is Idukki dam. It is the case of the State of  Kerala
      that despite the “copious rain”, the Idukki reservoir is not filled to
      its capacity, while the capacity of the reservoir is  70.500  TMC,  it
      was filled only to the extent of 57.365  TMC.  This  also  shows  that
      assuming the worst happens, more than 11 TMC water would be  taken  by
      Idukki dam. The Deputy Director, Dam Safety,  Monitoring  Directorate,
      Central Water Commission, Ministry of Water Resources in the affidavit
      of  April  2004  has,  inter  alia,  stated  that  during  the  recent
      earthquake mentioned by the Kerala Government  in  its  affidavit,  no
      damage to the dam was reported by CWC officers who inspected the  dam.
      The experts having reported about the safety of the dam and the Kerala
      Government having adopted an obstructionist approach,  cannot  now  be
      permitted to take shelter under  the  plea  that  these  are  disputed
      questions of fact. There is no report to suggest that  the  safety  of
      the dam would be jeopardised if the water  level  is  raised  for  the
      present to 142 ft. The report is to the contrary.”



(emphasis supplied by us)

122.9       In view  of  the  above  consideration,  this  Court  restrained
Kerala and its officers from  causing  any  obstruction  from  carrying  out
further strengthening measures by Tamil Nadu as suggested by CWC  and  Tamil
Nadu was permitted to increase water level of Mullaperiyar dam to 142 ft.
122.10.     The judgment in  Mullaperiyar  Environmental  Protection  Forum1
was pronounced on 27.02.2006.
123.        On 14/15.03.2006, a special session of  the  Kerala  Legislative
Assembly was convened and a Bill was  introduced  to  amend  the  2003  Act,
which was passed on 15.03.2006. On 18.03.2006, the Bill received the  assent
of the Governor and became an enactment with effect from that day.
124.        It is, thus, seen that one of the issues that directly fell  for
consideration before this Court  in  Mullaperiyar  Environmental  Protection
Forum1 was whether the raising of water level of the reservoir from 136  ft.
to 142 ft. would result in jeopardising the safety of the people?  From  the
various reports including the report of  the  Expert  Committee,  the  Court
held that apprehensions (wiping out  of  three  districts)  of  Kerala  were
found to be baseless in these reports and there was nothing to suggest  that
the safety of dam would be jeopardised if the water level was raised to  142
ft.   The judgment records the finding regarding the safety of  the  dam  on
water level being raised to 142 ft. from the present level of  136  ft.,  in
these words: “the various reports have examined the  safety  angle  in-depth
including the viewpoint of earthquake resistance.   The  apprehensions  have
been found to  be baseless.”  and, “The report of CWC  after  inspection  of
main dam, the galleries, baby dam,  earthen  bund  and  spillway,  concludes
that the dam is safe ……. .”
125.        For these reasons, and others contained in  the  judgment,  this
Court reached to the firm conclusion that raising the water level  from  136
ft. to 142 ft. would not jeopardise the safety of the  dam  in  any  manner.
Consequently, this Court restrained Kerala and  its  officers  from  causing
any obstruction from carrying out further strengthening  measures  by  Tamil
Nadu as suggested by CWC and Tamil Nadu  was  permitted  to  increase  water
level of Mullaperiyar dam to 142 ft.
126.        The decision of this Court on  27.02.2006  in  the  Mullaperiyar
Environmental  Protection  Forum1  case   was   the   result   of   judicial
investigation, founded upon facts ascertained in the course of hearing.   It
was strictly a judicial question.  The claim of  the  State  of  Kerala  was
that water level cannot be raised from its present level of 136 ft.  On  the
other hand, Tamil Nadu sought direction for raising the water level  to  142
ft.  and,  after  strengthening,  to  its  full  level  of  152  ft.     The
obstruction by Kerala to the water level in  the   Mullaperiyar  dam   being
raised to 142 ft. on the ground of safety was found untenable, and,  in  its
judgment, this Court so pronounced.

Whether 2006 (Amendment) Act in its application to Mullaperiyar dam  amounts
to usurpation of judicial power

127.        The question now is: Does the  impugned  legislation  amount  to
usurpation of judicial power and whether it is  violative  of  the  rule  of
law?
128.        As noted in the earlier part of the judgment, the 2003  Act  was
enacted to consolidate and  amend  the  laws  relating  to  construction  of
irrigation works, conservation and distribution of water for the purpose  of
irrigation in the State of Kerala  and  other  incidental  matters.  Section
2(b) defines  “Authority”  which  means  the  Kerala  Dam  Safety  Authority
constituted under Section 57. Section  2(k)  defines  “distributory  system”
which means and includes, inter alia, all works, structures  and  appliances
connected with the  distribution  of  water  for  irrigation.  Section  2(w)
defines “irrigation work” which, inter alia, includes all  reservoirs  which
may be used for the supply, collection, storage or retention  of  water  for
agricultural purposes and reservoirs  installed  to  supply  water.  Section
2(aq) defines “water course” which means a river, stream, springs,  channel,
lake or any natural collection of water other than in  a  private  land  and
includes any tributary or branch of any river, stream, springs  or  channel.
Section 3 starts with non  obstante  clause  and  provides  that  all  water
courses and all water in such water  courses  in  the  State  shall  be  the
property of the Government (Government of Kerala), and the Government  shall
be entitled to conserve and regulate the use of such water courses  and  the
water in all those water courses for the  purposes  of  irrigation  and  the
generation of electricity and for matters connected therewith or  for  both.
Section 4 makes provision for regulation on abstraction of water from  water
course. Section 5 provides for regulation  on  construction  of  reservoirs,
anicut, etc. Section 30 deals with distribution of water  to  another  State
or Union Territory. It is provided in Section 30 that no water from a  water
course in the State shall  be  distributed  to  any  other  State  or  Union
Territory,  except  in  accordance  with  an  agreement  between  the  State
Government and the Government of such other State or the Union Territory  in
terms of a resolution to that effect passed by the Legislative  Assembly  of
the State. Section 57 provides for constitution of Dam Safety Authority  for
the purpose of surveillance, inspection and advice on  maintenance  of  dams
situated within the territory  of  the  State.  For  the  purposes  of  this
section “dam”  means  any  artificial  barrier  including  appurtenant  work
constructed across a river or tributaries thereof with a view to impound  or
divert water  for  irrigation,  drinking  water  supply  or  for  any  other
purpose. Section 62 spells out the functions of the Authority. This  section
says that notwithstanding anything contained in  any  treaty,  agreement  or
instrument, the Dam Safety Authority, inter alia, has the functions  (1)  to
arrange for the safety evaluation of all dams in the State;  (2)  to  advice
Government to suspend the functioning of any dam if  the  public  safety  so
demands; (3) to examine the precariousness of any  dam  in  public  interest
and to submit its recommendations including decommissioning of  dam  to  the
Government; (4) to inspect and advice  the  Government  on  advisability  of
raising or lowering of the reservoir level of any dam  taking  into  account
the safety of the dam concerned and the environmental aspects involved;  and
(5) to inspect and advice the Government on the sustainability  of  any  dam
to hold the water in the reservoir thereof. Sub-section (3)  of  Section  62
provides that where the advice or recommendations of  the  Authority  relate
to a dam owned or controlled by person other than the Government,  it  shall
be lawful for the Government to issue orders or directions as it deems  fit,
requiring any person having possession or control of such dam to  take  such
measures or to do such things within such time as may be  specified  therein
to give effect to the advice or recommendations, and such  person  shall  be
bound to comply with the orders and directions issued by the Government.
129.        Mr. Harish N. Salve, learned senior counsel  for  Kerala  argued
that these provisions were not taken into consideration  by  this  Court  in
its  judgment  in  Mullaperiyar   Environmental   Protection   Forum1   and,
therefore, judgment of this Court is per incuriam.
130.        We are not persuaded by this  argument  at  all.  2003  Act  was
neither referred to nor relied upon by Kerala at  the  time  of  hearing  in
Mullaperiyar Environmental Protection Forum1.  It  was  rightly  so  because
2003  Act  had  no  direct  bearing  on  the   issues   which   were   under
consideration. Section 3 refers to  water  courses  and  the  definition  of
“water  course”  in  Section  2  (aq)  does  not  include  a  dam  such   as
Mullaperiyar dam. Kerala Dam Safety Authority was  not  in  place  when  the
arguments in Mullaperiyar Environmental Protection  Forum1  were  concluded.
We are informed  that  Dam  Safety  Authority  came  to  be  constituted  on
18.2.2006, i.e., few days before the judgment was pronounced by  this  Court
in that case. We have carefully considered the provisions  of  amended  2003
Act and, in our view, in whatever  way  2003  Act  is  seen,  there  was  no
impediment for this Court  to  consider  and  decide  the  question  whether
raising the water level from 136 ft. to 142 ft. would jeopardize the  safety
of the dam. This Court answered the  question  based  on  the  materials  on
record, in  the  negative.  The  judgment  of  this  Court  in  Mullaperiyar
Environmental Protection Forum1 by no stretch of imagination can  be  termed
as per  incuriam.  The  judgment  wholly  and  squarely  binds  the  parties
including Kerala.
131.        The Kerala legislature amended the 2003 Act by 2006  (Amendment)
Act. By the 2006 (Amendment) Act,  in  Section  2,  clauses  (ja)  and  (jb)
defining “custodian” and “dam” were inserted after clause (j). Clause  (ala)
defining “scheduled dam” was  also  inserted  after  clause  (al).  In  sub-
section (1) of Section 57 of the principal  Act,  the  words  “surveillance,
inspection” were substituted by “ensuring  the  safety  and  security”.  The
explanation in sub-section (2) of Section 57 was deleted. Section 62 of  the
principal Act was substituted by new Section 62. The new Section  62,  inter
alia, empowers the Dam Safety Authority with following functions:

       “(1)            xxx              xxx        xxx

      (a) to evaluate the safety and security  of  all  dams  in  the  State
      considering among other factors, the age of the structures, geological
      and seismic factors, degeneration or degradation caused over  time  or
      otherwise;

      (b) to (d)  xxx              xxx        xxx

      (e) to direct the custodian to suspend the functioning of any dam,  to
      decommission any dam or restrict the functioning of any dam if  public
      safety or threat to human life or property so requires;

      (f) to advise the  Government,  custodian,  or  other  agencies  about
      policies and procedures to be followed in site investigation,  design,
      construction, operation and maintenance of dams;

      (g) to conduct studies, inspect and advise the custodian or any  other
      agency on the advisability of raising or lowering of the maximum water
      level or full reservoir level of any dam, not being a  scheduled  dam,
      taking into account the safety of the dam concerned;

      (h) to (j)  xxx              xxx        xxx”

132.        The functions conferred on the Dam Safety  Authority  under  new
Section 62 override the judgment, decree  or  order  of  any  Court  or  any
treaty, agreement, contract, instrument or any other  document.  Sub-section
(3) of new Section 62 provides that where a direction is issued by  the  Dam
Safety Authority under sub-Section (1), the custodian or  any  other  agency
to whom it is directed shall take immediate measures within the  time  frame
stipulated by the Authority or do or refrain from doing such  things  within
such time frame as may be stipulated and to comply with  the  directions  of
the Authority. After Section 62, new Sections 62A and 62B have  been  added.
The details of the dams which  are  endangered  on  account  of  their  age,
degeneration, degradation, structural or other impediments are specified  in
the Second Schedule. Sub-sections  (2)  and  (3)  to  new  Section  62A  are
overriding provisions, which read as under:

       “(1)       xxx              xxx             xxx

      (2) Notwithstanding anything contained in any  other  law  or  in  any
      judgment, decree, order or direction of  any  court,  or  any  treaty,
      contract, agreement, instrument or document, no Government,  custodian
      or any other agency shall increase, augment, add to or expand the Full
      Reservoir Level Fixed or in any other way do or omit  to  do  any  act
      with a view to increase the water level  fixed  and  set  out  in  THE
      SECOND SCHEDULE. Such level shall not be altered except in  accordance
      with the provisions of this Act in respect of any Scheduled dam.

      (3) Notwithstanding anything contained in any other  law,  or  in  any
      judgment, decree,  order,  direction  of  any  court  or  any  treaty,
      contract, agreement, instrument or document, any Government, custodian
      or any other agency intending to, or having secured  any  right  under
      any treaty, contract, agreement, instrument  or  document  or  by  any
      other means to increase,  augment,  add  to  or  expand,  the  storage
      capacity or increase the Full Reservoir Level Fixed of  any  Scheduled
      dam, shall not do any act or work for  such  purpose  without  seeking
      prior consent in writing of the Authority  and  without  obtaining  an
      order permitting such work by the Authority.

      (4) and  (5)     xxx         xxx             xxx”

133.        Section 62B gives powers of a Civil  Court  to  the  Dam  Safety
Authority in respect of the matters specified  therein  while  dealing  with
applications for consent in writing for increasing,  augmenting,  adding  to
or  expanding  the  storage  capacity  or  the  water  spread  area  or  for
increasing of  Maximum  Water  Level  or  Full  Reservoir  Level  fixed  for
Scheduled dams. Section 68A  bars  the  jurisdiction  of  Civil  Court  from
settling, deciding or dealing with any question of fact or to determine  any
matter which under the 2003 Act, as amended  by  2006  (Amendment)  Act,  is
required to be settled, decided or dealt with or to  be  determined  by  the
Authority under the Act. In Second Schedule, at item  No.1  is  the  subject
“Mullaperiyar Dam” for which FRL is fixed at 41.45 meter (136 ft.) from  the
deepest point of the level of Periyar river at the site of the main dam.

134.        Tamil Nadu says that 2006  (Amendment)  Act  to  the  extent  it
applies to Mullaperiyar dam seeks to nullify the judgment of this  Court  in
Mullaperiyar Environmental Protection Forum1 by  declaring  the  dam  to  be
endangered and by fixing the height of the water level at 136 ft.;  that  It
authorizes the Dam  Safety  Authority  to  disregard  the  judgment  and  to
adjudge for itself whether to allow  raising  of  water  level  and  Section
62(1)(e)  authorizes  the  Dam  Safety  Authority  to   order   inter   alia
decommissioning of the dam despite the finding of safety  recorded  by  this
Court  in  the  2006  judgment  and,  thus,  the  2006  (Amendment)  Act  is
unconstitutional being  violative  of  separation  of  powers  doctrine  and
consequently rule of law.

135.        On the other hand, the argument of Mr. Harish N. Salve,  learned
senior counsel for Kerala, is that the legislature of every  State  has  not
just the power but the obligation to take appropriate  legislative  measures
to ensure the safety and security of its residents.  Where  the  legislature
of a State is satisfied that there is a need to curtail the use  or  storage
of  a  water  reservoir  to  protect  its  citizenry  and  elects  to  enact
legislation as a precautionary measure, the legislation cannot  be  said  to
be in excess of the legislative competence of the State  if  it  relates  to
reservoir and dam within  the  legislating  State.  Kerala  legislature  has
imposed precautionary measures  by  placing  pro  tem  restrictions  on  the
storage level of the  dams  mentioned  in  the  Second  Schedule  read  with
Section 62A(2) of the 2006 (Amendment) Act and  the  said  restrictions  are
based on the legislative wisdom of the Kerala legislature  that  these  dams
are  endangered  on  account  of  their  age,   degeneration,   degradation,
structural or other impediments. While adjudicating upon the  constitutional
validity, Mr. Harish Salve  argues  that  the  Court  must  proceed  on  the
premise that the  legislature  understands  and  correctly  appreciates  the
needs of its own people and its laws  are  directed  to  the  problems  made
manifest by its experience and are based on adequate grounds.

136.        Mr. Harish N. Salve, learned senior counsel for  Kerala  heavily
relies upon  ‘precautionary  principle’  and  ‘public  trust  doctrine’  and
argues that Kerala legislature was competent to override the  contracts  and
regulate safety of  the  Mullaperiyar  dam  situated  within  its  territory
across river Periyar. His submission is that the State as sovereign  retains
continuing supervisory control over navigable waters  and  underlying  beds.
It is his submission that the State has a duty of  ‘continuing  supervision’
even after such rights have been granted. In this regard strong reliance  is
placed by him on Pfizer Animal Health27.

137.        In Pfizer Animal  Health27,  the  Court  of  First  Instance  of
European Communities (Third Chamber) was concerned  with  the  legality  and
validity of the regulations which, inter alia, banned particular use of  the
substance in question. Pfizer argued that it was directly concerned  by  the
contested regulation as it withdraws  authorization  of  Virginiamycin.  The
counsel for the European Union  argued that the regulations were enacted  to
general  application  which  was  applicable   to   objectively   determined
situations and that  they  ban  the  particular  use  of  the  substance  in
question, whether they are marketed by Pfizer or by any  one  else  under  a
different  name.  The  Court  observed  that  for  the  purpose  of   taking
preventive action, to wait for  the  adverse  effects  of  the  use  of  the
products was not required.

138.        Dealing with  precautionary  principle,  the  Court  made  these
observations:
      “First, it  must  be  borne  in  mind  that,  when  the  precautionary
      principle is applied, the fact that there  is  scientific  uncertainty
      and that it is impossible to carry out a full risk assessment  in  the
      time available does not prevent the competent  public  authority  from
      taking  preventive  protective  measures  if  such   measures   appear
      essential, regard being had to the level of risk to human health which
      the public authority has decided is the critical threshold above which
      it is necessary to take preventive measures.
      ………….
      The precautionary principle allows the competent public  authority  to
      take, on a provisional basis, preventive protective measures  on  what
      is as yet an incomplete scientific basis, pending the availability  of
      additional scientific evidence.
      ………………
      It is not for the  Court  to  assess  the  merits  of  either  of  the
      scientific points of view argued  before  it  and  to  substitute  its
      assessment for that of the Community institutions, on which the Treaty
      confers sole responsibility in that regard.
      ………………..”


139.        Kerala has also relied  upon  the  article,  “The  Public  Trust
Doctrine in the Water Rights Context” by Roderick E. Walston22.  The  author
has culled out following four principles of the Public Trust doctrine:

       “(1)  The state as sovereign “retains continuing supervisory control”
      over navigable waters and underlying beds;

      (2)   The legislature, either directly or  through  the  water  rights
      agency, has the right to grant usufructuary water rights  even  though
      such rights will “not promote, and may  unavoidably  harm,  the  trust
      uses at the sources stream;”

      (3)   The state has the “affirmative duty” to take  the  public  trust
      into account in planning and allocating water resources; and

      (4)   The state has a “duty  of  continuing  supervision”  over  water
      rights even after such rights have been granted.”

139.1       Public trust doctrine, Roderick E. Walston says, is regarded  by
some as an exercise of sovereign state regulatory, analogous to  the  police
power.

140.        In our opinion, the principle of ‘public trust doctrine’ in  the
context  of  water  rights  culled  out  by  Roderick  E.  Walston  or   the
‘precautionary principle’ explained in Pfizer Animal Health27 can hardly  be
doubted but these principles have no application in the  context  of  safety
of Mullaperiyar dam on raising the water level from  the  present  level  to
142 ft., which was directly in issue and has been  expressly,  categorically
and unambiguously determined by the Court. This Court has found -  supported
by the Expert Committee Reports - that the safety of the subject dam is  not
at all jeopardized if the water level is raised from the  present  level  to
142 ft. Kerala,  which  is  contesting  party,  by  applying  ‘public  trust
doctrine’ or ‘precautionary measure’, cannot through legislation do  an  act
in conflict with the judgment  of  the  highest  Court  which  has  attained
finality.  If a legislation  is  found  to  have  breached  the  established
constitutional limitation such as separation of powers, it  has  to  go  and
cannot be allowed to remain.

141.        It is true that the  State’s  sovereign  interests  provide  the
foundation of the public trust doctrine but the judicial function is also  a
very important sovereign function of the State and  the  foundation  of  the
rule of law. The legislature cannot by invoking ‘public trust  doctrine’  or
‘precautionary principle’ indirectly control the action of  the  Courts  and
directly or indirectly set aside the authoritative and  binding  finding  of
fact by the Court, particularly, in situations where  the  executive  branch
(Government of the State) was a  party  in  the  litigation  and  the  final
judgment was delivered after hearing them.

142.        2006 (Amendment) Act in its application to  and  effect  on  the
Mullaperiyar dam seeks to attain the following:
(a)    It  substitutes  Section   62   with   a   new   provision   whereby,
notwithstanding the judgment of  this  Court  and  notwithstanding  anything
contained  in  any  treaty,  contract,  1886  Lease   Agreement   and   1970
supplemental agreements,  the  function  of  evaluation  of  safety  of  the
Mullaperiyar dam and  the  power  to  issue  directions  to  Tamil  Nadu  as
custodian are conferred upon Dam Safety Authority;
(b)   the Dam Safety Authority is empowered, inter  alia,  to  restrict  the
functioning  of  Mullaperiyar  dam  and/or  to  conduct   studies   on   the
advisability of raising or lowering of the maximum water level or  the  full
reservoir level;
(c)   Mullaperiyar dam is considered by Kerala legislature to be  endangered
and by virtue of Section 62(A), it takes away the right  of  Tamil  Nadu  to
increase, expand the FRL or in any manner increase the water  level  as  set
out in the Second Schedule except in accordance with the provisions  of  the
Act;
(d)   under Section 62A(4),  Tamil  Nadu  as  custodian  has  to  submit  an
application to the Dam Safety  Authority  for  its  prior  consent  for  the
increase in the water level;
(e)    it takes away all rights of Tamil Nadu including the right which  has
passed into judgment of this Court to increase the water level;
(f)   the Dams Safety Authority has power to order de-commissioning  of  the
Mullaperiyar dam.
143.        This Court  in  Mullaperiyar  Environmental  Protection  Forum1,
after hearing the State of Kerala, was not persuaded  by  Kerala’s  argument
that Mullaperiyar dam was unsafe or storage of water in that dam  cannot  be
increased. Rather, it permitted Tamil Nadu to  increase  the  present  water
level from 136 ft. to 142 ft. and  restrained  Kerala  from  interfering  in
Tamil Nadu’s right in increasing the water level in Mullaperiyar dam to  142
ft.  Thus, a judgment has been given by this court in  contest  between  the
two States in respect of safety of Mullaperiyar dam for raising water  level
to 142 ft.  The essential element of the judicial function is  the  decision
of a dispute actually arising between the parties  and  brought  before  the
court.  Necessarily, such decision must be  binding  upon  the  parties  and
enforceable  according  to  the  decision.   A  plain  and  simple  judicial
decision on fact cannot be altered by a legislative  decision  by  employing
doctrines or principles such  as  ‘public  trust  doctrine’,  ‘precautionary
principle’  ‘larger  safety  principle’  and,  ‘competence  of   the   State
legislature  to  override  agreements  between  the   two   States’.     The
Constitutional principle that the legislature can render  judicial  decision
ineffective  by  enacting  validating  law  within  its  legislative   field
fundamentally altering or changing  its  character  retrospectively  has  no
application where a judicial decision  has  been  rendered  by  recording  a
finding of fact. Under  the  pretence  of  power,  the  legislature,  cannot
neutralize the effect of the judgment given after ascertainment of  fact  by
means of evidence/materials  placed  by  the  parties  to  the  dispute.   A
decision which disposes of the matter by giving findings upon the  facts  is
not open to  change  by  legislature.   A  final  judgment,  once  rendered,
operates and remains in force until altered  by  the  court  in  appropriate
proceedings.
144.        2006 (Amendment) Act plainly seeks to nullify  the  judgment  of
this court which is constitutionally  impermissible.  Moreover,  it  is  not
disputed by Kerala that 2006 (Amendment) Act is not a validation  enactment.
Since the impugned law is not a  validating  law,  it  is  not  required  to
inquire whether in making the validation the  legislature  has  removed  the
defect which the Court has found in existing law. The 2006  (Amendment)  Act
in its application to and effect on Mullaperiyar dam is a legislation  other
than substantially legislative as it is aimed at nullifying  the  prior  and
authoritative decision of this Court. The nub of the  infringement  consists
in Kerala legislator's revising the final judgment of this  Court  in  utter
disregard of the constitutional principle that the revision  of  such  final
judgment must remain exclusively within the discretion of the court.
145.        Section 62A declares  the  dam  to  be  endangered.  The  Second
Schedule appended to the Act fixes the height of the water level at 136  ft.
though this Court in its judgment had declared  Mullaperiyar  dam  safe  and
permitted the increase of the water level to  142  ft.  Moreover,  the  2006
(Amendment)  Act  authorises  the  Dam  Safety  Authority  to  adjudge   its
safety to  allow  raising  of  water  level.  The  provision  is  in  direct
disregard of the judgment of this Court.  Section 62A also freezes all  work
on the dam allowed by this Court in its judgment dated  27.2.2006.   In  our
opinion, by 2006 (Amendment) Act, the Kerala legislature  has  overturned  a
final judgment in  the  interest  of  its  own  executive  Government.   The
impugned law amounts to  reversal  of  the  judgment  of  this  Court  which
determines directly the question of safety of Mullaperiyar dam  for  raising
water level to 142 ft. and whereunder Tamil  Nadu’s  legal  right  has  been
determined.
146.        On behalf of Kerala, it is  strenuously  argued  by  Mr.  Harish
Salve that right to safety of the people being  a  public  right  could  not
have passed into 2006  judgment  of  this  court.   In  this  regard,  heavy
reliance is placed on  the  majority  decision  of  the  Wheeling  Bridge29.
Firstly, public right qualification in Wheeling Bridge29 has no  application
in  the  present  case  as  there  is  a  critical  difference  between  the
provisions impugned before us and the provisions which were impugned  before
US Supreme Court in Wheeling Bridge29.  The principle  question  before  the
US Supreme Court in Wheeling Bridge29 was whether or not the  compact  could
operate as a restriction upon the power of courts under the Constitution  to
regulate commerce among several States.  In response to the  argument  urged
before it that the Congress cannot have the effect to annul the judgment  of
the court already rendered or the rights determined thereby was accepted  as
a general proposition but this proposition was held not  applicable  in  the
matters of adjudication upon the public rights.  In our view, a  legislation
violating the separation of powers principle cannot be saved by carving  out
an exception that the legislature has regulated a public  right.   We  think
that the act of legislature designed  to  achieve  a  legitimate  regulatory
measure does not grant  constitutional  immunity  to  such  law  enacted  in
violation of separation of powers principle or in other words, rule of  law.
 Once a judicial decision on ascertainment of  a  particular  fact  achieves
finality, we are afraid the legislature cannot reopen  such  final  judgment
directly or indirectly. In such cases, the courts, if brought  before  them,
may reopen such cases in exercise of their own discretion.
147.        In our view, Wheeling Bridge29  qualification  by  the  majority
decision of U.S. Supreme Court cannot be read to permit the actual  revision
of the final judgment by the legislature.  If Wheeling Bridge29   lays  down
the proposition that a judgment declaring a public right may be annulled  by
subsequent legislation as contended by Mr. Harish Salve, then we say, as  we
must, that we are not persuaded  to  accept  such  proposition  of  majority
judgment in  Wheeling  Bridge29.  The  two  separate  opinions  in  Wheeling
Bridge29 one by McLean J. and the other by Wayne J. -  though  in  minority-
also did not accept such proposition.
148.        The above discussion  must  also  answer  the  argument  of  Mr.
Harish Salve that rules of inter partes  litigation  do  not  determine  the
obligation of the State for safety of its people. We  do  not  think  it  is
necessary to consider the opinion of Weeramantry, J. in  Gobcikovo-Nagymaros
Project (ICJ) in detail. The stress laid by Weeramantry, J.  is  that  where
issue of serious or catastrophic  environmental  danger  arises,  the  Court
must look beyond inter partes adversarial procedures.

149.        It is true that safety of dam is  an  aspect  which  can  change
from time to time in different  circumstances  but  then  the  circumstances
have to be shown based on which it becomes necessary to make departure  from
the earlier finding. It is always open to any of  the  parties  to  approach
the court and apply for re-assessing the safety aspect but absent change  in
circumstances, factual determination in the earlier proceedings even on  the
questions such as safety of dam binds the  parties.   If  the  circumstances
have changed which necessitates a re-look  on  the  aspect  of  safety,  the
Court  itself  may  exercise  its  discretion  to  reopen  such   case   but
legislative abrogation of judgment for even the very  best  of  reasons  and
genuine concern for  public  safety  does  not  clothe  the  legislature  to
rescind the judgment of the court by a legislation.

150.        The contention  of  Mr.  Harish  Salve  that  by  declaring  dam
unsafe, the legislature has not rendered any finding of fact; it  deems  dam
unsafe and sets up an Authority to regulate it, is  noted  to  be  rejected.
What has been found as a fact by judicial determination cannot  be  declared
otherwise by applying legal fiction. We are, however,  persuaded  to  accept
the submission of Mr. Vinod Bobde, learned senior  counsel  for  Tamil  Nadu
that the fact that the Mullaperiyar dam is safe was found by this Court  and
that finding of fact can never be deemed to be imaginary by a legal  fiction
which then proceeds to deem the opposite to be real, viz., that the  dam  is
endangered. This is not a matter of legislative policy as it is  being  made
out to be, rather in our opinion, it is incursion in  the  judicial  process
and functions of judicial organ. The declaration in Section  62A  read  with
item No. 1 of the Second  Schedule  leaves  no  manner  of  doubt  that  the
enactment is intended to reach the question decided by the Court.

151.        The question whether or not  the  legislature  has  usurped  the
judicial power or enacted a law in breach of separation of powers  principle
would depend on facts of each case after considering the real effect of  law
on a judgment or a judicial proceeding.  One of the  tests  for  determining
whether a judgment is nullified is to see whether the law and  the  judgment
are inconsistent and irreconcilable so that both cannot stand together.   In
what we have already discussed above, it is abundantly  clear  that  on  the
one hand there is a finding of fact determined by this Court on hearing  the
parties on the basis of the  evidence/materials  placed  on  record  in  the
judgment of this Court in Mullaperiyar Environmental Protection  Forum1  and
on the other in 2006 (Amendment) Act, the Kerala  legislature  has  declared
the dam being an endangered one and fixed the water level in the dam at  136
ft.  If the judgment of this Court in Mullaperiyar Environmental  Protection
Forum1 and the 2006 (Amendment) Act are  placed  side  by  side  insofar  as
safety of the Mullaperiyar dam for raising the water level from 136  ft.  to
142 ft. is concerned, it is obvious that the judgment of this Court and  the
law enacted by Kerala State legislature cannot stand together and  they  are
irreconcilable and inconsistent. The impugned  law  is  a  classic  case  of
nullification of a judgment simpliciter, as in the judgment  of  this  Court
the question of safety of dam was  determined  on  the  basis  of  materials
placed before it and not on the  interpretation  of  any  existing  law  and
there was no occasion for the legislature to amend the law by  altering  the
basis on which the judgment was founded. When the  impugned  law  is  not  a
validation law, there  is  no  question  of  the  legislature  removing  the
defect, as the Court has  not  found  any  vice  in  the  existing  law  and
declared such law to be bad.

152.        There is  yet  another  facet  that  in  federal  disputes,  the
legislature (Parliament and State legislatures) cannot  be  judge  in  their
own cause in the case of any dispute with another State.  The  rule  of  law
which is basic feature of our Constitution forbids the Union and the  States
from deciding, by law, a dispute between two States  or  between  the  Union
and one or more States.  If this was permitted under the  Constitution,  the
Union and the States which have any dispute  between  them  inter  se  would
enact law establishing its claim or right against the other and  that  would
lead to contradictory and irreconcilable laws.  The Constitution  makers  in
order to obviate any likelihood of  contradictory  and  irreconcilable  laws
being  enacted  has  provided  for  independent  adjudication   of   federal
disputes.  Article 131 of the  Constitution  confers  original  jurisdiction
upon this Court in relation to the disputes between the Government of  India
and one or more States or between the Government of India and any  State  or
States on one side and one or more States on the other  or  between  two  or
more States insofar as dispute involves any question on which the  existence
or extent of a legal right depends. The  proviso  appended  to  Article  131
carves out an exception to the jurisdiction  of  this  Court  to  a  dispute
arising out of treaty,  agreement,  covenant,  engagement,  sanad  or  other
similar instrument which have been  entered  into  or  executed  before  the
commencement of the Constitution  and  continues  in  operation  after  such
commencement, which  are  political  in  nature.   In  relation  to  dispute
relating to waters of  inter-State  river  or  river  valleys,  Article  262
provides for creation of tribunal  or  forum  for  their  adjudication.   In
federal disputes, Parliament or  State  legislatures  by  law,  if  seek  to
decide a dispute between the two States or between  the  Union  and  one  or
more States directly or indirectly, the adjudicatory mechanism  provided  in
Articles 131 and 262 of the Constitution would  be  rendered  nugatory  and,
therefore, such legislation cannot be  constitutionally  countenanced  being
violative of separation of powers doctrine.

153.        Mr. Harish  Salve,  learned  senior  counsel  is  right  in  his
submission that a legislation can never be challenged on the  principles  of
res judicata and that  it  binds  a  party  and  not  the  legislature.  The
question here is not that the 2006 (Amendment) Act  is  unconstitutional  on
the ground of res judicata but the question is, when a  categorical  finding
has been recorded by this Court in the earlier  judgment  that  the  dam  is
safe for raising the water level to 142 ft. and permitted  the  water  lever
of the dam being raised to 142 ft. and that judgment has  become  final  and
binding between the  parties,  has  the  Kerala  legislature  infringed  the
separation of powers doctrine in enacting such  law?  In  what  has  already
been discussed  above,  the  answer  to  the  question  has  to  be  in  the
affirmative and we hold so.

154.        Where a dispute between two States has already been  adjudicated
upon by this Court, which it is empowered to deal with, any  unilateral  law
enacted by one  of  the  parties  that  results  in  overturning  the  final
judgment is bad not  because  it  is  affected  by  the  principles  of  res
judicata but because it infringes the doctrine of separation of  powers  and
rule of law, as by  such  law,  the  legislature  has  clearly  usurped  the
judicial power.

Res-judicata
155.        It is true that 2006 judgment was rendered in  exercise  of  the
jurisdiction of this Court under Article 32  of  the  Constitution  and  the
petitions which were transferred to this Court under  Article  139A  but  to
say that such judgment does not bind this Court while deciding  the  present
suit, which confers exclusive jurisdiction upon  it,  is  not  correct.  The
earlier decision of this Court by no stretch of imagination can be  regarded
as a judgment rendered without jurisdiction.  A  finding  recorded  by  this
Court in the proceedings under Article 32 is as effective and  final  as  in
any other proceedings.

156.        The rule of res judicata is not merely a technical rule  but  it
is based on high public policy. The rule  embodies  a  principle  of  public
policy, which in turn, is an essential part of the rule of law.  In  Duchess
of Kingston[62], the House of Lords (in the opinion of Sir William de  Grey)
has observed: “From the variety of cases relative to judgments  being  given
in evidence  in  civil  suits,  these  two  deductions  seem  to  follow  as
generally  true:  first,  that  the  judgment  of  a  court  of   concurrent
jurisdiction, directly upon the point, is as a plea, a bar, or as  evidence,
conclusive, between the same parties, upon  the  same  matter,  directly  in
question in another court;  secondly,  that  the  judgment  of  a  court  of
exclusive jurisdiction,  directly  upon  the  point,  is,  in  like  manner,
conclusive  upon  the  same  matter,  between  the  same   parties,   coming
incidentally in question in another court, for a different purpose.”

157.        Corpus Juris explains that res judicata is a rule  of  universal
law pervading every well-regulated system of jurisprudence, and is put  upon
two grounds, embodied in various maxims of the common law; the  one,  public
policy and necessity, which makes it to  the  interest  of  the  State  that
there should be an end to litigation; and the other,  the  hardship  on  the
individual that he should be vexed twice for the same cause.

158.         In  Sheoparsan  Singh[63],  Sir  Lawrence  Jenkins  noted   the
statement of law declared by Lord Coke, ‘interest reipublica  ut  sit  finis
litium,’ otherwise great oppression might be done under colour and  pretence
of law. – (6 Coke, 9A.)

159.        In Daryao[64], P.B.  Gajendragadkar,  J.  while  explaining  the
rule of res judicata stated that on general considerations of public  policy
there seems to be no reason why rule of res judicata should  be  treated  as
inadmissible or irrelevant while dealing  with  the  petitions  filed  under
Article 32 of the Constitution. P.B. Gajendragadkar, J. referred to  earlier
decision of this Court in M.S.M. Sharma[65] wherein the application  of  the
rule of res judicata to a petition filed under  Article  32  was  considered
and it was observed that the question determined by  the  previous  decision
of this Court cannot be reopened and must govern the rights and  obligations
of the parties which are subsequently the same.

160.        In Gulab Chand Chhotalal Parikh[66], this Court  stated  that  a
decision in a writ petition is res judicata in a subsequent suit.

161.        In Nanak Singh[67] the question whether the decision in  a  writ
petition operates as res judicata in a subsequent suit  filed  on  the  same
cause of action has been settled. In  Nanak  Singh67,  this  court  observed
that  there  is  no  good  reason  to  preclude  decisions  on  matters   in
controversy in writ proceedings under Article  226  or  Article  32  of  the
Constitution from operating as res judicata in subsequent regular  suits  on
the same matters in controversy between the same parties and, thus, to  give
limited effect to the principle of finality of decision after full contest.

162.        Nanak Singh67 has been followed by a three Judge Bench  of  this
Court in Bua Das Kaushal[68]. In our view, the rule of  res  judicata  which
is founded on public  policy  prevents  not  only  a  new  decision  in  the
subsequent suit  but  also  prevents  new  investigation.  It  prevents  the
defendant from setting up a plea in a  subsequent  suit  which  was  decided
between the parties in the previous proceedings.  The  legal  position  with
regard to rule of res judicata is fairly well-settled that the  decision  on
a matter in controversy in writ proceeding (Article 226  or  Article  32  of
the Constitution) operates as res judicata in subsequent suit  on  the  same
matters in controversy between the same parties. For  the  applicability  of
rule of res judicata it is not necessary that the decision in  the  previous
suit must be the decision in the suit so as to operate as res judicata in  a
subsequent suit. A decision in previous proceeding, like  under  Article  32
or Article 226 of the Constitution, which is not a suit, will be binding  on
the parties in the subsequent suit on the principle of res judicata.

163.        For the applicability of rule of  res  judicata,  the  important
thing that must be seen is that the matter was  directly  and  substantially
in issue in the previous proceeding and a decision has  been  given  by  the
Court on that issue. A decision on issue of fact in the previous  proceeding
– such proceeding may not be  in  the  nature  of  suit  –  constitutes  res
judicata in the subsequent suit.

164.        In light of the above legal position, if the  2006  judgment  is
seen, it becomes apparent that after  considering  the  contentions  of  the
parties and examining the reports of Expert Committee, this Court posed  the
issue for determination about the safety of the dam to  increase  the  water
level to 142 ft. and came to a categorical finding that  the  dam  was  safe
for raising the water level to 142 ft. and, accordingly, in  the  concluding
paragraph the Court disposed of the writ petition and the connected  matters
by permitting the water level of Mullaperiyar dam being raised  to  142  ft.
and also permitted further strengthening of the dam as  per  the  report  of
the Expert Committee  appointed  by  the  CWC.  The  review  petition  filed
against the said decision was dismissed by  this  Court  on  27.7.2006.  The
2006 judgment having become final and binding, the  issues  decided  in  the
said proceedings definitely operate as res judicata in the suit filed  under
Article 131 of the Constitution.

165.        Shri Harish Salve, learned senior  counsel  for  Kerala,  placed
reliance upon the decision of this Court in N.D. Jayal[69]. In N.D.  Jayal69
Dharmadhikari, J. made general observations on the dam  safety  aspect  that
plea like res judicata on the earlier decisions passed by the Supreme  Court
cannot be allowed to be raised. The observations made by  Dharmadhikari,  J.
in N.D. Jayal69 have to be read as an exception to the res judicata rule  in
the  matters  where,  by  their  very  nature,  the  factual  situation  has
drastically changed in  course  of  time.  If  substantial  changes  in  the
circumstances  occur  and  such  circumstances  are  shown  to   the   Court
necessitating departure from the earlier finding on  the  issue  of  safety,
the Court can be approached and in that event the Court itself may  exercise
its discretion to reopen the safety aspect  having  regard  to  the  drastic
change in circumstances or in emergent situation as to the  safety  of  dam.
In our view, a judicial decision,  having  achieved  finality,  becomes  the
last word and can be reopened in the changed  circumstances  by  that  Court
alone and no one else.

166.        On behalf of Kerala, it is contended that  the  jurisdiction  of
this Court under Article 32 of  the  Constitution  for  enforcement  of  the
fundamental rights conferred by Part III of the Constitution  is  ousted  or
excluded in respect of disputes between  two  or  more  States:  since  such
disputes fall within the ambit of the original jurisdiction  of  this  Court
under Article  131  of  the  Constitution  or  jurisdiction  of  a  tribunal
constituted under the provisions of Inter-State River  Water  Disputes  Act,
1956 read with the provisions of Article 262 of the Constitution.  Thus,  it
was submitted that the 2006 judgment is not binding and  that  the  rule  of
res judicata can hardly be attracted in this situation.

167.        We are unable to accept the submission  of  the  learned  senior
counsel for Kerala. The label of jurisdiction exercised  by  this  Court  is
not material for applicability of principles of res judicata if  the  matter
in issue in the subsequent suit has already been concluded  by  the  earlier
decision of this Court between the same parties. The 2006 judgment  was  the
result of judicial investigation, founded  upon  facts  ascertained  in  the
course of hearing. The plea of lack of jurisdiction of this Court was  taken
in the earlier proceedings on  both  the  grounds,  viz.,  (1)  whether  the
jurisdiction of this Court is barred  in  view  of  Article  262  read  with
Section 11 of the Inter-State  River  Water  Disputes  Act,  1956,  and  (2)
whether Article 363 of  the  Constitution  bars  the  jurisdiction  of  this
Court. On both these questions the findings were  recorded  against  Kerala.
It is too much  for  Kerala  to  say  that  the  2006  judgment  is  without
jurisdiction and not binding.

168.        The rule of res judicata is articulated  in  Section  11[70]  of
the Code of Civil Procedure.

169.        Explanations VII and VIII were inserted in the  above  provision
by  Code  of  Civil  Procedure  (Amendment)  Act,  1976   w.e.f.   1.2.1977.
Explanation VIII in this regard is quite relevant.  The  principles  of  res
judicata, thus, have been made  applicable  to  cases  which  are  tried  by
Courts of limited jurisdiction. The  decisions  of  the  Courts  of  limited
jurisdiction, insofar as such decisions are within  the  competence  of  the
Courts of limited jurisdiction, operate as  res  judicata  in  a  subsequent
suit, although, the Court of limited jurisdiction that decided the  previous
suit may not be competent to try such subsequent suit or the suit  in  which
such question is subsequently raised. If a decision of the Court of  limited
jurisdiction, which was within its competence, operates as res  judicata  in
a subsequent suit even when the subsequent suit is  not  triable  by  it,  a
fortiori, the decision  of  the  highest  Court  of  the  land  in  whatever
jurisdiction given on an issue which was  directly  raised,  considered  and
decided must  operate  as  res  judicata  in  the  subsequent  suit  triable
exclusively by the highest Court under Article 131 of the Constitution.  Any
other view in this regard will be inconsistent with the high  public  policy
and rule of law. The judgment of this Court directly upon the point,  is  as
a plea, a bar, or as evidence, conclusive between  the  same  parties,  upon
the same matter, directly in question before this Court,  though,  label  of
jurisdiction is different.

170.        The principles of res judicata  are  clearly  attracted  in  the
present case. The claim of Kerala  in  the  earlier  proceeding  that  water
level cannot be raised from its present level of 136 ft. was  expressly  not
accepted  and  the  obstruction  by  Kerala  to  the  water  level  in   the
Mullaperiyar dam being raised to 142 ft. on the ground of safety  was  found
untenable. The judgment dated 27.2.2006 of this  Court,  thus,  operates  as
res judicata in respect of the issue of safety of the dam by increasing  its
water level from 136 ft. to 142 ft.

171.        It is argued by Mr. Harish Salve,  learned  senior  counsel  for
Kerala, that even agreements entered into between foreign sovereigns can  be
overridden in  exercise  of  legislative  powers.  He  argues  that  if  the
contention of Tamil Nadu that the  1886  Lease  Agreement  was  an  ordinary
lease  agreement  is  correct  and  assuming  that  such  an  agreement  was
continued, it clearly was open to the legislature of the State of Kerala  to
override such a contract.  According  to  him,  even  contracts  by  way  of
sanads, treaties, etc., by the Crown could, after the  Government  of  India
Act and also after the Constitution of India, be overridden by  exercise  of
the legislative power.

172.        Learned senior counsel for Kerala in support of this  contention
relied upon the Privy Council  decision  in  Thakur  Jagannath  Baksh19  and
Maharaj Umeg Singh20. Learned senior counsel also submits that  Section  108
of the SR  Act  does  not  create  any  limitation  upon  Kerala  exercising
legislative power, inter  alia,  to  cancel  1886  Lease  Agreement  and  if
Section 108 of SR Act is construed to  impose  a  permanent  fetter  on  the
State’s legislative power, such provision is unconstitutional.

173.        It may be stated immediately that the constitutionality  of  the
SR Act has not been raised by Kerala in its written statement. As  a  matter
of fact, there is no issue framed by the Court in this  regard.  Rather,  in
the earlier litigation the constitutionality of Section 108 of  the  SR  Act
was challenged. In the 2006  judgment,  one  of  the  questions  framed  for
consideration was, whether Section 108 of the SR  Act  is  unconstitutional.
The Court held that  law  making  power  under  Articles  3  and  4  of  the
Constitution was paramount and it was  neither  subjected  nor  fettered  by
Article 246 and Lists II (State List)  and  III  (Concurrent  List)  of  the
Seventh Schedule. The Court also held that power of Parliament to  make  law
under Articles 3 and  4  is  plenary  and  traverses  over  all  legislative
subjects as are necessary for  effecting  a  proper  reorganization  of  the
States. Consequently, the Court found no merit in the challenge  as  to  the
validity of Section 108 of the SR Act.

174.        We are, therefore,  not  persuaded  to  consider  constitutional
validity of Section 108(1)  of  the  SR  Act  again.  Moreover,  it  is  not
necessary to  consider  this  aspect  in  view  of  our  finding  that  2006
(Amendment) Act enacted by Kerala legislature is unconstitutional.

175.        Thakur Jagannath  Baksh19  and  Maharaj  Umeg  Singh20  have  no
application to the situation obtaining in the present case. The effect of  a
judgment which enforces a legal right flowing from a contract  is  that  the
right is incorporated as a right under the judgment and such a right  cannot
be overridden by legislature as it tantamounts to overriding a judgment.

176.        Learned senior counsel for Kerala also relied  upon  a  decision
of this Court in State of Orissa[71]. In State of  Orissa71,  while  dealing
with Article 131, this Court stated, “Article 131 has  no  doubt  given  the
Supreme Court exclusive jurisdiction to resolve any dispute  between,  inter
alia, two or more States. This exclusive jurisdiction is,  however,  subject
to two limitations — one contained in the  opening  words  of  the  Article,
namely, “subject to the provisions  of  this  Constitution”  and  the  other
which is contained in the proviso to the Article.”

177.        There is no doubt that the jurisdiction to resolve  any  dispute
between two or more States is conferred upon the Supreme  Court  by  Article
131 of the Constitution. However, it does not  follow  logically  from  this
that a judgment rendered by the Supreme Court in a writ  jurisdiction  under
Article 32 amongst others between two States is not conclusive  and  binding
on such States. As already noted above, the 2006 judgment rendered  by  this
Court in exercise of its jurisdiction under  Article  32  binds  Kerala  and
Tamil Nadu. We have no hesitation and we state  with  all  emphasis  that  a
finding recorded by this Court in exercise of jurisdiction under Article  32
is binding between the two parties, in a subsequent  suit  between  the  two
States under Article 131.

Safety of Mullaperiyar dam – Evidence and EC Report
178.        Learned senior counsel for Kerala while  assailing  the  finding
of fact on safety of Mullaperiyar dam recorded  in  2006  judgment,  and  in
support of his contention that it does not constitute res  judicata  as  the
circumstances have changed, has relied upon the evidence of its witness  Dr.
A.K. Gosain (DW-3) on the impact of Probable Maximum Flood  (PMF),  evidence
of Dr. D.K. Paul on the impact of seismic forces and certain  admissions  of
Tamil Nadu’s witness PW-1. Mr. Harish Salve  argues  that  the  doctrine  of
finality does not preclude this Court from correcting  the  errors.  Learned
senior counsel in this regard places reliance upon three decisions  of  this
Court in A.R. Antulay[72], Isabella Johnson[73], and Rupa Ashok Hurra[74].

179.        Being the highest  court  of  the  land,  this  court  possesses
powers to correct a judgment in a curative petition if the  parameters  laid
down in Rupa Ashok Hurra74 are satisfied. The present  case  does  not  fall
within the parameters laid down in Rupa Ashok Hurra74. Though  there  is  no
justification to reopen the dam safety aspect in view  of  the  judgment  of
this Court passed on 27.2.2006, yet  for  our  satisfaction  as  to  whether
there is any danger to the Mullaperiyar dam, despite  strengthening  of  dam
carried out by Tamil Nadu in  accordance  with  the  strengthening  measures
suggested by CWC, we briefly intend to look into this aspect.

180.        Learned senior counsel for Kerala submits that danger  posed  to
the safety of the Mullaperiyar dam arises from, (i) the impact  of  Probable
Maximum Flood (PMF), i.e., floods which impact the dam; (ii) the  impact  of
Maximum Considered  Earthquake  (MCE),  i.e.,  if  earthquake  happens,  the
impact of such event  on  the  dam;  and  (iii)  the  impact  on  structural
degeneration, i.e., with the  age,  the  dam  structure  has  been  rendered
unsafe.  Kerala’s emphasis is that in the 2006 judgment this  Court  wrongly
endorsed the PMF of 2.12 lakh cusecs estimated by the CWC  in  1986.  Kerala
asserts that the observed flood at Mullaperiyar dam in 1943  was  2.98  lakh
cusecs and according to Tamil Nadu’s own witness (PW-1), the  PMF  ought  to
be more than observed flood. Hence, estimation of PMF as  2.12  lakh  cusecs
by the CWC in 1986 is an underestimation.

181.        As regards impact of MCE, Kerala has  heavily  relied  upon  the
study conducted by Dr. D.K. Paul and Dr. M.L.  Sharma,  Professors  of  IIT,
Roorkee. Kerala says that these two  experts  have  categorically  concluded
that, “………..both the Main Mullaperiyar  dam  and  Baby  Dam  are  likely  to
undergo damage which may  lead  to  failure  under  static  plus  earthquake
condition and therefore needs serious attention….”.

182.        Kerala submits that the dam suffered  heavy  lime  loss  between
1930 and 1960 forcing Tamil Nadu to grout admittedly 542  MT  of  cement  in
this period.

183.        On the aspect of impact  of  structural  degeneration,  Kerala’s
submission is that Mullaperiyar dam is a composite gravity  dam  constructed
of lime surkhi mortar and lime surkhi concrete; that inner core of the  dam,
which constitutes 62% of the  total  volume,  admittedly  consists  of  lime
surkhi concrete; and that Mullaperiyar dam has suffered  heavy  leaching  of
lime and has lost as much as 30.48 MT  per  year  as  found  by  the  Expert
Committee of Tamil Nadu,  which  has  been  admitted  by  PW-1.  Kerala  has
highlighted that the density of the materials used in the dam has  gradually
gone down from 150 lbs/cft considered in 1895 to 135  lbs/cft  in  1986  and
that  such  gradual  reduction  testifies  structural  degradation  of   the
Mullaperiyar dam.
184.        As noted earlier, when the matter was initially taken up by  the
Constitution Bench it was felt that all the aspects of the matter  including
safety of Mullaperiyar dam need to be examined  by  an  Empowered  Committee
(EC),  which  may  help  the  Court  in  deciding  the  matter  effectively.
Accordingly, on  18.2.2010  the  Constitution  Bench  directed  the  Central
Government to constitute an EC under the Chairmanship  of  Dr.  A.S.  Anand,
former Chief Justice of India, and comprising of two  members  nominated  by
the States of Kerala and Tamil Nadu  and  two  renowned  technical  experts.
Kerala nominated Justice K.T. Thomas, a former  Judge  of  this  Court,  and
Tamil Nadu nominated Justice (Dr.) A.R. Lakshmanan, a former Judge  of  this
Court, to the EC. Two renowned technical experts, Dr. C.D. Thatte  and  Shri
D.K. Mehta were nominated in consultation with the Chairman of  the  EC.  As
per the terms of reference, the EC was free to receive further  evidence  as
it considered appropriate.  The two experts, Dr. C.D. Thatte and  Shri  D.K.
Mehta  have  long  experience  in  all  facets  of  water  sector.  EC   got
investigations, tests and technical studies carried out  through  the  three
apex  organizations,  besides  other  specialized   organizations   of   the
Government of  India  and,  especially,  expert  agencies  with  a  view  to
appreciate the diverse stand of the two States. In  all,  12  investigations
and technical studies, besides  some  site  studies,  were  directed  to  be
carried out to assist the EC to appreciate the stand of the two  States  and
for  submission  of  its  report  to  this  Court.  The  EC   also   visited
Mullaperiyar dam (main dam), Baby dam and  earthen  bund  from  the  Periyar
lakeside as well as from the downstream side. Before EC, the  representative
of both States explained theories of the existing  dam.  The  two  technical
members  made  a  visit  to  drainage  galleries  and  spillway  for  better
appraisal of the dam site. The two experts again visited the  dam  site  for
site appraisal and submitted their report.
185.        The reports and investigations, tests and studies (ITS  reports)
are contained in 50 CDs  and  4  DVDs.  The  report  of  EC  consists  of  8
Chapters. Chapter I has the title “Dams – An  Overview”.  Chapter  II  deals
with three aspects, viz., (a)  Use  of  Periyar  waters;  (b)  Evolution  of
Periyar Project; and (c) Mullaperiyar dam  Dispute  in  the  Supreme  Court.
Chapter III refers to the issues settled by the EC. Chapter  IV  contains  –
(i) Report of visit of the EC to  Mullaperiyar  dam  site/areas  during  19-
22.12.2010; (ii)  Resolutions of  the  EC  dated  21.12.2010,  7.1.2011  and
5.12.2011; and (iii) Report of visit by  two  technical  members  (Dr.  C.D.
Thatte  and  Shri  D.K.  Mehta)  during  22-26.12.2011.  Chapter  V  records
responses in brief of the parties to the issues framed by EC. Chapter VI  is
appraisal and analysis of the reports  of  technical  investigations,  tests
and studies. Chapter  VII  records  conclusions.  Chapter  VIII  deals  with
general  observation  with  the  title,  “Way  Forward-Towards  An  Amicable
Resolution”. Two notes, one from Justice K.T. Thomas, member of the EC,  and
the other from Justice (Dr.) A.R. Lakshmanan, member of the EC,  on  Chapter
VIII of the report of the EC are also appended to the report.
186.         In  Chapter  III,  the  EC  has   recorded   the   issues   for
consideration. One of the issues, viz., Issue No.4 for consideration  reads,
“Should the reservoir level be raised from 136 ft.?  If  yes,  what  further
measures for strengthening the existing dam, do the  two  parties  envisage,
to allow the raising of  reservoir  level  from  136  ft.  to  142  ft.  and
beyond?”
187.        In Chapter V, the EC has  noted  responses  by  Tamil  Nadu  and
Kerala to the issues framed by it.
188.        Chapter VI, in which appraisal and analysis of ITS reports  have
been made, shows that following tests and studies were formulated so  as  to
effectively deal with the concerns and grievances of the two States:


   “A.      HYDROLOGIC SAFETY


      |Title                       |Purpose of ITS             |
|Verification of the Probable|To determine:              |
|Maximum Flood (PMF)         |                           |
|computations with flood     |Probable Maximum Flood     |
|routing for revisiting      |(PMF)                      |
|spillway capacity.          |Outflow PMF hydrograph and |
|                            |its moderation from Mulla  |
|                            |Periyar Dam upto tip of    |
|                            |Idukki reservoir.          |
|                            |Outflow PMF hydrograph of  |
|                            |Idukki reservoir.          |
|                            |Maximum Water Level (MWL)  |
|                            |for various scenarios of   |
|                            |operative / inoperative    |
|                            |gates for different FRLs.  |
|                            |Free board                 |
|Integrated Dam Break Flood  |To assess Dam Break Flood  |
|study from Mulla Periyar Dam|that may be caused by      |
|to Idduki Dam and beyond to |different modes of         |
|enable preparation of an    |failure/cascade effect in  |
|Emergency Action Plan.      |case of occurrence of MPD  |
|Preparation of a sample of  |break.  To identify the    |
|likely inundation map.      |plausible worst case of Dam|
|                            |Break Flood going down     |
|                            |Periyar river from MPD to  |
|                            |Idukki reservoir tip (in   |
|                            |1st phase) and beyond (in  |
|                            |other 2 phases).  To       |
|                            |determine maximum          |
|                            |inundation on both banks   |
|                            |for preparation of         |
|                            |Emergency Action Plan under|
|                            |Disaster Management Plan.  |
|Back-water studies upstream |To determine afflux        |
|of tip of Mulla Periyar     |(swelling) above the MWL in|
|Reservoir into main stem and|the upstream from tip of   |
|tributaries.                |the reservoir caused due to|
|Contour map of reservoir    |inflow congestion.         |
|area from present water     |                           |
|level to 165 ft (50.29 m)   |                           |
|elevation.                  |                           |
|Computerized Reservoir      |To determine loss of       |
|Sedimentation Survey for    |storage due to             |
|assessment of present       |sedimentation and its      |
|elevation-area-capacity     |effect (if any) on Probable|
|relations.  Assessment in   |Maximum Flood attenuation. |
|higher elevations by Remote |                           |
|Sensing.                    |                           |


      Note: Side items of ITS pertain to i) Dams built with spillway  design
      flood less than PMF, ii) Availability of water  for  Tamil  Nadu,  and
      iii) Requirement for environmental flow.




   B. STRUCTURAL SAFETY
|Mapping of upstream face of |To scan upstream face of Dam|
|dam above water level by    |for discontinuities, cracks,|
|means of photography        |hollows, voids & joints etc.|
|                            |above water level by grid   |
|                            |based photography.          |
|Underwater scanning of      |To scan upstream face of Dam|
|upstream face of the dam by |for discontinuities, cracks,|
|means of a Remotely Operated|hollows, voids & joints etc.|
|Vehicle to assess its       |under water by means of a   |
|condition.                  |Remote Operated Vehicle.    |
|Studies of seepage and its  |To compile measured values  |
|free lime content.          |of seepage from dam body and|
|                            |foundation.                 |
|                            |To determine proportion of  |
|                            |seepage through dam         |
|                            |body/foundation by flow net |
|                            |studies.                    |
|                            |To determine leached free   |
|                            |lime content in seepage.    |
|Determination of            |To carry out core drilling  |
|in-situ/ex-situ strength &  |in Dam body/ foundation to  |
|integrity of the dam body   |enable following physical   |
|materials and foundation for|and chemical, in-situ and   |
|using in safety/stability   |ex-situ (in laboratories)   |
|status assessment.          |tests.                      |
|                            |                            |
|                            |In-situ Tests:              |
|                            |                            |
|                            |Sonic test                  |
|                            |Gamma – Gamma /             |
|                            |Neutron-Neutron             |
|                            |Dye Tracer                  |
|                            |Electrical Resistivity &    |
|                            |Geophysical Tomographic     |
|                            |Study                       |
|                            |Ex-situ Tests:              |
|                            |Compressive strength        |
|                            |Tensile Strength            |
|                            |Modulus of Elasticity       |
|                            |(Static as well as dynamic) |
|                            |Poisson’s ratio             |
|                            |Density                     |
|                            |Free Lime                   |
|                            |Chemical analysis of        |
|                            |materials                   |
|Measurement of loss of      |To determine loss of        |
|stress in the sample        |pre-stress and hence        |
|pre-stressed cable          |residual pre-stress in the  |
|                            |cable anchors installed in  |
|                            |1981, as part of            |
|                            |strengthening measures.     |


      Note: Side items of ITS pertain to i) Thermal  properties  of  backing
      concrete and  effect  on  interface,  ii)  Instrumentation,  and  iii)
      Stability of Main and Baby Dam.




   C.       SEISMIC SAFETY
|Finite Element Method (FEM)  |To determine tensile stress  |
|analysis employing (response |caused due to Earthquake     |
|spectra) / (time histories)  |forces based on:             |
|to asses stability of dam    |2D FEM Studies based on      |
|under design basis/maximum   |Response Spectra method (in  |
|credible earthquake forces.  |two parts) submitted by SoK. |
|                             |3D FEM studies (two times)   |
|                             |submitted by SoTN.           |
|                             |2D FEM studies (in two parts)|
|                             |based on Time-History        |
|                             |analysis.                    |
|Identify evidence of         |To make a traverse and       |
|geological fault in the      |identify evidence if any, of |
|surroundings of the Baby Dam.|the suspected geological     |
|                             |fault in the Baby dam        |
|                             |foundation.                  |


      Note: Side items of ITS pertain to i) Study  of  3D  FEM  Analysis  by
      Prof. R.N. Iyengar of Indian Institute  of  Sciences,  Bangalore,  ii)
      Seismic Design Parameters of Mulla Periyar Dam,  and  iii)  Impact  of
      recent earthquake events.”

189.        The above reports have then been carefully analysed and  on  the
basis of the appraisal of the ITS reports, EC  held  that  Probable  Maximum
Precipitation (PMP) considered earlier was correct and the determination  of
observed maximum flood in 1943 was not reliable.  EC’s  assessment  is  that
peak of PMF reaching the Mullaperiyar dam reservoir / periphery  /  upstream
tip remains at 2.12 lakh cusecs (6003 cumecs).
190.        EC has been of the  view  that  spillway  designed  capacity  of
Mullaperiyar dam for flood lower than PMF is acceptable.  The  EC  carefully
analysed the two studies, viz., (i) study above water level by  photography,
and (ii) study below water level by means  of  a  Remote  Operated  Vehicle,
upto a safely reachable level, and  on  appraisal  from  both  scans/studies
read together did not apprehend cause for  concern  about  manifestation  of
any distress for the dam.
191.        EC has also  carefully  considered  the  concerns  expressed  by
Kerala with regard to (a) seepage measurement  and  assessment  of  loss  of
free lime; (b) loss of strength of dam body constituents due to  lime  loss;
and (c) vulnerability due to free lime loss. According to EC appraisal,  the
total lime leaching in 116 years of dam’s existence was about  3.66%,  which
is less than the upper permissible limit of 15-20%. EC  held  that  as  lime
loss as assessed was far within permissible limits, there is  no  cause  for
concern about loss of strength of Mullaperiyar dam.
192.        The physical properties of  dam  body  material  has  also  been
reviewed and assessed by applying in situ non destructive tests,  viz.,  (a)
sonic test from dam’s upstream face; (b) neutron-logging and  tracer  study;
(c) geophysical tomographic study; and (d) scanning of internal  surface  of
bore hole walls using digital video  recording  system.  EC  also  requested
Tamil Nadu to obtain and test core samples from dam body / foundation  rock,
besides carrying out in situ tests in 9 holes on Mullaperiyar  dam,  of  150
mm size and more, which were got done by  Tamil  Nadu.  These  test  reports
were also considered. The chemical tests on  constructed  material  used  in
the dam body and reservoir water  were  also  conducted.  The  test  results
indicate innocuous nature of all these materials.
193.        All time seepage data of Mullaperiyar  dam  has  been  appraised
and analysed by EC, which indicates that it is  within  permissible  limits.
Testing of one ungrouted cable anchor for residual pre-stress was got  done.
Analysis has also been done of thermal properties of  backing  concrete  and
effect on interface. The detailed appraisal and analysis of ITS reports  for
seismic design parameters on Mullaperiyar dam  show  the  recent  earthquake
events to be transient and inconsequential.
194.        One of the apprehensions highlighted by Kerala  is  that  a  dam
break flood would cause  large  scale  devastation.  This  aspect  has  been
considered by the EC under the head “Dam Break Flood and possible  cascading
effect”. EC in this regard has observed that Kerala has not supplied  to  it
inundation maps even for normal flood with return periods such  as  50,  100
years in downstream area for phase-I and between Idukki  and  lower  Periyar
dam or further downstream for later phases. Such inundation maps have to  be
prepared for Emergency Action  Plan.  Kerala  also  has  not  submitted  any
assessment  as  prescribed  in   CWC   ‘Guidelines   for   Development   and
Implementation  of  Emergency  Action  Plan  for  Dams,  May,  2006’.    EC,
accordingly, depended on maps developed by using Archived Satellite  Imagery
and  Survey  of  India  toposheets,  through  ‘Mapsets’,  and   accomplished
illustrative  contouring  of  area  between  Mullaperiyar  dam  and   Idukki
complex. EC has observed that all the projections / concerns by Kerala  were
not based on computations / studies. Despite the request made to  Kerala  to
supply contour map,  Kerala did not do so.  EC  has  further  observed  that
Kerala’s projection is conjectural since there is  deficiency  in  assessing
the likely inundated area. EC, therefore, did not accept the  scare  of  dam
break flood.
195.        Having done elaborate and detailed  appraisal  and  analysis  of
the voluminous tests and  reports  of  experts  and  having  regard  to  the
concerns expressed by Kerala about the safety of the  Mullaperiyar  dam,  EC
has summarized its conclusions on the three aspects,  viz.,  (a)  hydrologic
safety; (b) structural safety; and (c) seismic safety as follows:

      “A)   Hydrologic Safety


      23.   The MPD is found  hydrologically  safe.   The  Probable  Maximum
      Flood (PMF), with a peak flow of 2.12 lakh  cusecs  (6003  cumecs)  is
      accepted by EC.  It can be routed over the reservoir FRL 142 ft (43.28
      m) to safely pass over the  MPD  spillway  with  13  gates  operative,
      resulting into a peak out  flow  of  1,43,143  cusecs  (4053  cumecs),
      raising the Maximum Water Level (MWL) to elevation 153.47 ft (46.78 m)
        transiently.   Even  for  the  Test  Case  of  one  gate   remaining
      inoperative, the MWL raises to elevation 154.10 ft (46.97 m) when  PMF
      impinges the reservoir at FRL 142 ft (42.28 m).


      B)    Structural Safety


      24. Both the main and Baby Dam (gravity and earth),  are  structurally
      safe.  FRL can  be  restored  to  the  pre-1979  position.   Following
      maintenance and repair measures, should however be carried  out  in  a
      time-bound manner: i) treatment of upstream surface,  ii)  reaming  of
      drainage  holes,  iii)  instrumentation,  iv)  periodical  monitoring,
      analysis and leading away the seepage from  toe  of  the  dam  towards
      downstream, v) geodetic re-affirmation, etc., vi) the dam body  should
      be grouted with a  properly  designed  grout  mix  of  fine  cement  /
      suitable chemical / epoxy / polymer according to expert advice so that
      its safety continues to remain present.


      C)    Seismic Safety


      25.   MPD is found to be seismically safe for FRL 152 ft (46.33  m)  /
      MWL 155 ft (47.24 m) for the identified seismic design parameters with
      acceleration time histories under 2-D FEM Analysis.  The strength  and
      other properties of dam material presently available,  indicate  ample
      reserve against the likely stresses  /  impacts  assessed  under  this
      analysis.  In addition, reserve strength of cable  anchors  makes  the
      dam further safe.  The suspicion about existence of a geological fault
      in the Baby Dam  foundation  is  ruled  out.   The  recent  earthquake
      activity in the dam area  is  considered  of  no  consequence  to  the
      seismic safety.  Also, it has caused  no  distress  to  MPD  /  Idukki
      dams.”

196.         Kerala  has  vehemently  challenged  the  EC  report  and   its
conclusions. Mr. Harish Salve, learned senior  counsel  for  Kerala,  argues
that the ITS reports contained in 50 CDs and 4 DVDs are not  admissible  and
should not be considered as part of material on record  before  this  Court.
He submits that EC suo motu decided to  conduct  investigations,  tests  and
studies  on  various  aspects  related  to  the  case   through   the   apex
organizations, the Coordination Committee was formed,  headed  by  Dr.  C.D.
Thatte, member of the EC, and consisting of representatives  of  Kerala  and
Tamil Nadu and though the representatives of States were made  part  of  the
Coordination Committee, but their role was  limited  to  more  of  being  an
observer and unilateral decisions regarding the studies,  etc.,  were  taken
by Dr. C.D. Thatte, which  were  prejudicial  to  the  interest  of  Kerala.
Kerala’s grievance is that the EC on  5.12.2011  declined  to  disclose  and
supply the copies of results  and  ITS  reports  without  dealing  with  the
question of prejudice. Subsequently, EC submitted  its  report  before  this
Court and the Court directed the Registry on 4.5.2012 to supply copy of  the
report of the EC to party States and,  accordingly,  the  Registry  of  this
Court made available a photocopy of the report.  The report supplied by  the
Registry to Kerala did not include  the  results  and  reports  of  the  ITS
listed in Annexure 6.1 of the report but later on pursuant to the  order  of
this Court dated 31.8.2012, all 50 CDs and  4  DVDs  were  supplied  to  the
counsel for Kerala. It is submitted  on  behalf  of  Kerala  that  the  fair
procedure and rules of natural justice demanded  that  the  EC  should  have
disclosed the results and reports of ITS relied upon  by  it  and  given  an
opportunity to Kerala on  the  acceptability  of  the  ITS  reports.  It  is
strenuously urged by learned senior counsel for Kerala that the ITS  reports
are the opinions of experts and, therefore, the EC  could  not  have  relied
upon such results and reports without giving an opportunity to  it  to  meet
the adverse contents and Kerala has the right to cross-examine  the  authors
and also to lead evidence  of  experts,  if  any,  challenging  the  adverse
results and reports of the ITS. In  this  regard,  Kerala  referred  to  the
application made before EC  on  21.11.2011.  Kerala  also  relied  upon  the
decision of Queens Bench in Regina[75].
197.        We are not persuaded by the submissions of Mr. Harish Salve.  It
is true that 50 CDs and 4 DVDs  containing  ITS  reports  were  supplied  to
Kerala pursuant to the order of this Court dated 31.8.2012 after the  report
had been submitted by the EC but the fact of  the  matter  is  that  the  EC
decided to conduct the investigations, tests and studies on various  aspects
relating  to  the  safety  of  the  Mullaperiyar  dam   through   the   apex
organizations pursuant to the task given to it by this Court. The EC in  its
proceedings dated 17.2.2011 formed a Coordination Committee which  comprised
the representatives of both the States. It is very difficult to accept  that
the role of the representatives of the States in the Coordination  Committee
was limited to that of being an observer. The ITS reports  have  been  given
by the organizations and bodies which are expert on  the  job.  We  have  no
hesitation in holding that the investigations, tests and  technical  studies
were  directed  to  be  carried  out  by  the   EC   in   association   with
representatives of both the States.
198.        Moreover, this Court appointed EC to  assure  itself  about  the
safety of the Mullaperiyar dam. The EC, we must say, has completed its  task
admirably by thoroughly going into each and every aspect of  the  safety  of
Mullaperiyar dam. We do not find any  merit  in  the  objections  of  Kerala
challenging the findings and conclusions of the  EC  on  hydrologic  safety,
structural safety and seismic safety of the dam. The  findings  of  EC  with
elaborate analysis of reports of investigations, tests and studies  lead  to
one and only one conclusion that there is no  change  in  the  circumstances
necessitating  departure  from  the  earlier  finding  on  the   safety   of
Mullaperiyar dam given by this Court in 2006 judgment. As a matter of  fact,
there is no change in circumstances at all much less any drastic  change  in
circumstances or emergent  situation  justifying  the  reopening  of  safety
aspect of Mullaperiyar dam which has been determined by this  Court  in  the
earlier judgment.

Findings on Issue Nos. 2(a), 3, 4(a), 4(b) and 10
199.        In light of the above discussion, our  findings  on  Issue  Nos.
2(a), 3, 4(a), 4(b) and 10 are as follows:
(i.)  Kerala Irrigation and Water  Conservation  (Amendment)  Act,  2006  is
      unconstitutional and ultra vires in its application to and  effect  on
      the Mullaperiyar dam.
(ii.)  The  rights  of  Tamil  Nadu,  crystallized  in  the  judgment  dated
      27.2.2006 passed by this Court  in  W.P.  (C)  No.386/2001  cannot  be
      nullified by a legislation made by the Kerala State legislature.
(iii.)      The earlier judgment of this Court given on  27.2.2006  operates
      as res judicata on the issue of the safety  of  Mullaperiyar  dam  for
      raising water level to  142  ft.  and  ultimately  to  152  ft.  after
      completion of further strengthening measures on the Mullaperiyar dam.
(iv.) The plea raised by Kerala relating to the lease deed dated  29.10.1886
      and structural safety of Mullaperiyar dam have been finally decided by
      the judgment of this Court dated 27.2.2006 and Kerala is estopped from
      raising or re-agitating these issues in the present suit.
(v.)  Kerala cannot obstruct Tamil Nadu from increasing the water  level  of
      Mullaperiyar dam to 142 ft. and from carrying out repair works as  per
      judgment dated 27.2.2006.

Issue No. 8.
200.        This issue covers  the  controversy  as  to  whether  Kerala  is
estopped from contending that Periyar river is not an inter-State river.
201.        Tamil Nadu in the plaint has averred as follows:
      “The plaintiff, defendant no.1, State of Kerala are the  two  riparian
      States through which the Inter-State river Periyar flows.   The  river
      is one of the west flowing rivers in  the  State  of  Kerala,  with  a
      portion of its catchment lying with the State of Tamil Nadu………….”

202.        Traversing the above pleading of the Tamil Nadu, Kerala has  set
up the case that river Periyar is not an inter-State river but it is  intra-
State river; that it rises in Quilon District in Kerala and  traverses  only
through the territory of Kerala before falling into the Arabian sea.

203.        In its replication, Tamil Nadu has averred that, in  any  event,
in  the  earlier  proceedings,  Kerala  had  raised  the  plea  of  lack  of
jurisdiction of this Court  to  entertain  the  river  water  disputes  with
reference to Article 262 of the Constitution read with  Section  11  of  the
Inter-State River Water Disputes Act, 1956.  This plea  was  raised  on  the
ground that river Periyar is an inter-State river.  Tamil  Nadu,  thus,  has
set up the plea that Kerala is estopped  from  raising  a  plea  that  river
Periyar is not an inter-State river.

204.        Mr. Harish Salve, learned  senior  counsel  for  Kerala,  argues
that river Periyar rises in Kerala and flows for a  length  of  244  km.  in
Kerala before entering in the sea at Kerala coast. River  Periyar  does  not
touch any part of Tamil Nadu. He submits that in  the  earlier  proceedings,
Kerala had not  admitted  that  river  Periyar  was  an  inter-State  river.
Learned senior counsel contends that river Periyar is an  intra-State  river
and Kerala’s averments in the earlier proceedings does  not  estop  it  from
raising the plea that river Periyar is not an inter-State river.

205.        In 2006 judgment, one of the points considered  and  decided  by
this court is whether the jurisdiction of this court is barred  in  view  of
Article 262 of the Constitution read with  Section  11  of  the  Inter-State
River Water Disputes Act, 1956. This point would not  have  been  raised  by
Kerala but for the fact that river Periyar happened  to  be  an  inter-State
river. While deciding this point, obviously,  the  court  proceeded  on  the
footing that river Periyar is an inter-State river. This court decided  this
point against Kerala. It appears that in the review petition, for the  first
time, Kerala took the specific plea that Periyar  is  an  intra-State  river
but covered by an  inter-State  agreement.  The  review  petition  has  been
rejected by this Court on 27.7.2006.

206.        It is true that in the earlier proceedings there is  no  express
and categorical admission of Kerala that river  Periyar  is  an  inter-State
river, but the  very  plea  of  lack  of  jurisdiction  of  this  court  for
considering the applicability of Article 262,  as  noted  above,  would  not
have been raised by Kerala  if  river  Periyar  was  an  intra-State  river.
Moreover, the entire area drained  by  the  river  and  its  tributaries  is
called the river basin. It is well-understood in the  water  laws  that  the
basin of any river includes the  river  valley.  The  topographical  map  of
Periyar river-basin shows that part of Periyar basin (about 114 sq. km.)  is
in Tamil Nadu. This is established from Water Atlas of Kerala  published  by
Centre for Water Resources Development and  Management,  Kazhikode,  Kerala.
Though the Periyar basin area that falls in Tamil Nadu is  very  small  but,
in our view, that does not make any difference  insofar  as  the  status  of
Periyar river as inter-State river is concerned. The fact of the  matter  is
that 114 sq. km. of Periyar basin area falls in Tamil  Nadu.  This  is  also
fortified by the advance report of Public Works  Department,  Government  of
Kerala, which, inter alia, states, “the rivers  which  have  their  drainage
area lying in more than one State have been brought under  the  category  of
Inter-State rivers and a  consolidated  study  has  been  admitted  in  this
chapter……………”  “Of the west flowing rivers, those which have  a  portion  of
their catchment area lying in Madras State  are  …………..(iv) Periyar.”

207.        Kerala’s witness M.K. Parameswaran Nair  has  admitted  that  in
Chapter LXIII under the heading “Interstate waters”  from  “Water  Resources
of Kerala” published by Public Works Department,  Government  of  Kerala  in
1958, Periyar has been mentioned as  an  inter-State  river.   This  witness
also admits that Water Atlas of Kerala wherein details of Periyar basin  are
given shows that part of the basin falls in the neighbouring State of  Tamil
Nadu.

208.        Since Kerala has raised the plea that river Periyar is an intra-
State river, obviously, burden is on Kerala  to  prove  this  fact.  Kerala,
except asserting that Periyar river rises  in  and  traverses  only  in  the
territory of Kerala before entering into Arabian sea  and  no  part  of  the
land in Tamil  Nadu  abuts  river  Periyar,  has  not  produced  substantial
evidence to prove that river Periyar is an  intra-State  river.  Kerala  has
not discharged its burden to the satisfaction of the Court.

209.        It is true that averment of Tamil Nadu in the  plaint  that  the
two States – Kerala and Tamil Nadu – are riparian States  is  not  right  in
its entirety because Tamil Nadu is not a riparian State but  the  status  of
Periyar river as inter-State river, on the basis of what  we  have  observed
above, cannot be overlooked. It is not open to  Kerala  to  take  a  totally
inconsistent plea and begin fresh controversy about the  status  of  Periyar
river on the ground that the earlier plea  was  founded  on  some  erroneous
premise. In our view, Kerala cannot be permitted  to  contend  that  Periyar
river is not an inter-State river.

Finding on Issue No.8
210.        In light of the above discussion, it is held that Kerala  cannot
be permitted to contend that river Periyar is an  intra-State  river.  Issue
No.8 is answered accordingly.

Issue No.9
211.        This issue is founded on the offer made by Kerala to Tamil  Nadu
to construct a new dam across river Periyar  in  the  downstream  region  of
Mullaperiyar dam. EC in Chapter VIII under the title “Way Forward –  Towards
An Amicable Resolution” has dealt with this aspect as  a  first  alternative
and suggested as follows:

      “1.   That the SoK may construct a new dam,  at  its  own  expense  to
      serve its own  perceptions,  if  techno-economically  cleared  by  the
      Planning Commission, and  cleared  by  MoEF  in  accordance  of  their
      regulations. The construction of a new  dam,  giving  due  margin  for
      inflation etc, may cost the exchequer more than  Rupees  one  thousand
      crores. The statutory clearances, fixing  of  a  construction  agency,
      preliminary works, the actual construction  and  decommissioning  with
      demolition of existing dam is likely  to  take  8  to  10  years.  The
      existing dam shall not be  dismantled,  demolished  or  decommissioned
      till the new dam construction is completed and it becomes operational.
      Till such time, the rights of the SoTN in  the  existing  Dam  to  all
      waters of Mulla Periyar Dam arising out of the Lease Deed     of  1886
      and the Agreements of 1970, shall be fully honoured.

      2.    However, the operation of the New Dam would commence only after:



      2(a)  A fresh MOU is executed between the SoK and the SoTN.

      2(b)  That to control, manage,  operate,  maintain  and  regulate  the
           waters of the New Dam, an Independent Committee / Board,  to  be
           chaired  by  a  representative  of  the  Union  of  India,  with
           representatives of the SoK and the SoTN as its Members,  is  put
           in place;

      2(c)  That the terms of rent/levies etc payable by the SoTN to the SoK
           are settled and the power generation rights of  the  two  States
           are settled beforehand;

      2(d)   That  before  construction  of  the  new  dam  and   till   its
           commissioning, the existing dam  will  be  strengthened  by  the
           measures suggested by the CWC, including Dam Safety requirements
           as already voiced, which still remain to be carried out.

      2(e)  That the SoTN will  be  entitled  to  all  its  existing  rights
           including all water    levels under the Lease Deed of  1886  and
           Agreement of 1970.

      2(f)  That decommissioning or demolition of the existing dam would  be
           subject to the conditions 2(a) to 2(e)  being  met  by  the  two
           Party States.

      2(g)  The Empowered Committee had  made  the  suggestion  to  the  two
           States during the hearing on 2nd January, 2012. Learned  counsel
           for the parties had sought time to consult the States  and  file
           their responses. Counsel for the parties  later  on  gave  their
           responses in     general terms, but there  has  been  no  direct
           response or opposition to the alternatives suggested.”



212.        Any amicable resolution of the present dispute between  the  two
States would have been really good for the people of these States  but  this
has not been possible as  the  two  States  have  sharp  conflict  over  the
subject matter and their stance is rigid, inflexible  and  hard.  The  offer
made by Kerala for construction of new dam has been outrightly  rejected  by
Tamil Nadu. It is important to bear in mind that Mullaperiyar dam  has  been
consistently found to be safe, first, by the Expert  Committee,  and,  then,
by this Court in 2006 judgment. The  hydrological,  structural  and  seismic
safety of the Mullaperiyar dam has been confirmed by the EC as well.

Finding on Issue No.9
213.        In this view of the matter for  the  construction  of  new  dam,
there has to be agreement of both the parties.  The  offer  made  by  Kerala
cannot be thrusted upon  Tamil  Nadu.  Issue  No.9,  therefore,  has  to  be
decided against Kerala and it is so held.

214.        EC has also suggested the following second alternative:

      “2.   The  Dam  Safety  Organization  Central  Water  Commission,  the
      Government of India (Ministry of Water Resources), has laid  down  the
      Criteria and Guidelines for Evacuating Storage Reservoirs, Sizing  Low
      Level Outlets and Initial Filling of Reservoirs.

      i)    According to the criteria, generally speaking,  Dams  should  be
           provided with low level outlets of adequate  capacity  to  lower
           the  reservoir  water  level  to  a  specified   elevation   for
           inspection, maintenance and repair, and ii) to control the  rate
           of reservoir pool rise during initial filling.

      ii)   The Guidelines recommend that an outlet should  be  provided  at
           the lowest possible level and should be of sufficient dimensions
           to cater to evacuation of storage with requisite flow  capacity.
           The decision about level at which the outlet has to be  provided
           is left to the concerned  dam  owning  entity.  The  level  will
           depend upon assessment of the dam's  condition,  a  judgment  on
           location at which distress may be caused,  its  nature  and  the
           time of evacuation needed for enabling completion of restoration
           measures.

      3. In the existing MPD project, as noted in Chapter-ll(b)  (supra),  a
      tunnel had been designed with a D-Section 12 feet wide and 7.5 ft high
      with provision of the sluice head gate having sill at El 106.5 ft  for
      diversion of water from Periyar reservoir to Vaigai basin in the SoTN.
      This tunnel was modernized by widening and lining in  the  year  1958.
      The tunnel can allow reservoir draw-down to 106.5 ft as  per  criteria
      laid down in (i). Storage lower than El  106.5  ft  to  an  identified
      elevation based on assessment of likely distress cannot be  drawn-down
      through the present arrangement of drawl of water for the SoTN through
      the existing tunnel.

      4. Further, digging of a New Tunnel at say at EL 50  ft.,  of  course,
      after conducting surveys,  designs,  and  techno-economic  feasibility
      studies, with requisite sluice gates for evacuation of reservoir water
      from EL 106.5 ft  to  say  50  ft.  These  studies  will  have  to  be
      undertaken within a specified time frame. It goes without saying  that
      the water flow from the New Tunnel can be used for power generation or
      for  any  other  purpose   by   making   changes   in   its   existing
      infrastructure. Depending upon a decision about the elevation  of  the
      New Tunnel outlet, evacuation of the MPD reservoir will be possible in
      corresponding time period.

      a)    The new tunnel, will need to be constructed by the  SoTN,  since
           the ownership of  the  existing  dam  vests  in  it.  The  total
           expenditure for construction of the new tunnel should  be  borne
           by the SoTN. The costs may be small as compared to the  cost  of
           the replacement of the  new  dam.  The  SoTN  should  accomplish
           surveys and feasibility studies for the proposal of having a new
           tunnel within a year.

      b)    The New Tunnel say at EI 50 ft  will  enable  the  SoTN  to  use
           additional water available in storage between EL 106  ft  to  50
           ft. At present, these waters are remaining unused.

      c)    More importantly, if  this  alternative  is  implemented  in  an
           agreed period of time, the  fear  perception  in  the  minds  of
           people of the SoK will be set at rest. They can then  appreciate
           that the New Tunnel is  going  to  help  evacuation  of  storage
           faster and better, in case the dam develops any distress.  As  a
           gravity dam seldom  gives  in  suddenly,  such  evacuation  will
           reduce Dam Break flood (DBF) magnitude significantly.

      d)    Though, the  demand  of  the  SoK  for  1.1  TMC  of  water  for
           Environmental Flow is not substantiated, yet, a legitimate  need
           which is yet to be assessed, can be met with after  the  FRL  is
           raised to 142 ft. A small pipe outlet  of  a  suitable  diameter
           through  right  bank  hillock  can  be  dug   to   release   the
           Environmental Flow as firmed up by the SoTN in consultation with
           CWC & the SoK.

       5.   That a MoU would have to be executed by the SoTN and the SoK, in
      the presence of a representative of the Govt. of  India,  Ministry  of
      Water Resources, regarding the construction of the new tunnel within a
      specified time.”



215.        EC has itself noted that the second alternative is dependent  on
agreement between  the  two  States  but  to  us  there  appears  to  be  no
possibility of mutual agreement on this aspect  as  well.  The  alternatives
suggested by EC are worth exploring by the two States but having  regard  to
the unbending stance adopted by them, this does not  seem  to  be  possible.
We, however, grant liberty to the parties to apply to the Court if they  are
able to arrive at some amicable solution on either of the  two  alternatives
suggested by the EC.

Issue Nos. 2(b) and 11
216.        With reference to these  issues,  it  is  strenuously  urged  by
Kerala that Tamil Nadu has not suffered any injury because of the  reduction
of the storage at Mullaperiyar dam to  136  ft.  since  1979.  According  to
Kerala, more water was drawn and more area was irrigated after 1979.  Kerala
has in this regard relied upon the data supplied by Tamil Nadu Public  Works
Department and the analysis thereof. It  is  submitted  that  average  water
drawn during the pre-1979 period was 19,277 Mcft.  while  in  the  post-1979
period the water drawn was 21,434 Mcf.  As  regards  extent  of  irrigation,
Kerala  submits  that  the  extent  of  irrigation  in   Tamil   Nadu   from
Mullaperiyar, water has  admittedly  increased  from  about  1,71,307  acres
before 1979 to 2,31,412 acres. Kerala has also relied upon  the  answers  of
PW-1 to question Nos. 585 to 601 and 58 to 59. Kerala has also  relied  upon
the decision of this Court in State of Andhra Pradesh3  wherein  this  Court
observed, “…….that in a suit for injunction filed by one State  against  the
other State, the burden on the complaining State is much greater  than  that
generally required to be borne by  one  seeking  an  injunction  in  a  suit
between private  parties.  The  complaining  State  has  to  establish  that
threatened invasion of rights is substantial and of a serious magnitude.  In
the matter between States, injunction would  not  follow  because  there  is
infraction of some rights of the  complaining  State  but  a  case  of  high
equity must be made out that moves the conscience of the Court  in  granting
injunction…….”

217.        Tamil Nadu on the other hand  asserts  that  raising  the  water
level in the dam to original FRL is absolutely  necessary  to  irrigate  the
lands in about 2 lakh  acres  in  five  drought-prone  districts  of  Theni,
Dindigul, Madurai, Sivagangai and Ramanathanpuram. About  6.8  lakh  farmers
and agricultural  labourers  besides  80  lakh  people  of  the  above  five
districts continue to suffer due to inadequate timely supply  of  water  for
irrigation and drinking purposes.

218.        Pertinently, EC has also considered this aspect and observed  as
follows:

      “EC has assessed that increase in irrigation in Vaigai Basin is mainly
      due to i) construction  of  Vaigai  Dam  in  1954  and  related  canal
      distribution system post 1974, which worked as a  balancing  reservoir
      for release from power station  in  non-irrigation  months  from  1954
      onwards, and ii) World Bank assisted Modernization of  Periyar  Vaigai
      Irrigation Project, phase-I & II, implemented in 1980’s, which enabled
      improved Water Use Efficiency.

      Although firming up of irrigation is achieved by the  SoTN,  there  is
      still large drought-prone area in Vaigai  Basin  and  adjoining  area,
      which needs  protective  irrigation.   Also  domestic  /  municipal  /
      industrial  needs  of  the  area  are  significant.    These   present
      requirements remain unmet, if FRL is not restored even partially.

      EC is unable to accept the submission of the SoK that no harm will  be
      done under these circumstances to the SoTN if FRL is not restored.”



219.        Insofar as drawal of water  in  pre-1979  period  and  post-1979
period is concerned, the sole witness of Tamil Nadu  has  admitted  that  in
the post-1979 period the water drawn was 21,434 Mcft. and the average  water
drawn pre-1979 period was 19,277 Mcft. Similarly, he has  admitted  increase
of irrigation from 1,71,307 acres before 1979 to 2,31,412 acres in  1992-93,
but, as observed by EC, this has been due to construction of Vaigai  dam  in
1954 and related canal distribution system  post-1974.  The  five  districts
Theni, Dindigul, Madurai, Sivagangai and Ramanathanpuram that are served  by
Periyar project are drought prone.  About 2  lakh  acres  of  land  fall  in
these five districts which needs to  be  irrigated.  The  inadequate  timely
water  supply  of  water  for  irrigation  and  drinking  purposes  to   the
population of these districts may affect their lives as well as  livelihood.
 The increase of irrigation  and  more  drawal  of  water  post  1979  still
appears to be deficient for the population of more than 80  lakh  people  in
these districts.

220.        In these facts, therefore, it can  safely  be  said  that  Tamil
Nadu has been able to establish that invasion on its rights is  substantial.
Tamil Nadu has been able to make out a case for grant of injunction  on  the
principles laid down by this Court in State of  Andhra  Pradesh3.  Moreover,
present suit is not a suit for injunction simpliciter as the main prayer  is
that Kerala Irrigation and  Water  Conservation  (Amendment)  Act,  2006  be
declared unconstitutional and ultra vires in its application to  and  effect
on the Mullaperiyar dam.

Findings on Issue Nos. 2(b) and 11
221.        In view of the foregoing discussion, we hold that Tamil Nadu  is
entitled to the reliefs as prayed in para 40  (i)  and  (ii)  of  the  suit.
Consequently,  it  is  declared  that  the  Kerala  Irrigation   and   Water
Conservation (Amendment) Act, 2006  passed  by  the  Kerala  legislature  is
unconstitutional in its application to and effect on the  Mullaperiyar  dam.
The 1st defendant –  State  of  Kerala  –  is  restrained  by  a  decree  of
permanent injunction from applying and enforcing  the  impugned  legislation
or in any manner interfering with or obstructing the  State  of  Tamil  Nadu
from increasing the water level to 142 ft. and from carrying out the  repair
works as per the judgment of this  Court  dated  27.2.2006  in  W.P.(C)  No.
386/2001 with connected matters.

222.        However, to allay  the  apprehensions  of  Kerala-  though  none
exists - about the safety of the Mullaperiyar dam on restoration of the  FRL
to 142 ft., a 3-Member Supervisory Committee is constituted.  The  Committee
shall have one representative from the  Central  Water  Commission  and  one
representative each from the  two  States  –  Tamil  Nadu  and  Kerala.  The
representative of the Central Water Commission shall be the Chairman of  the
Committee. The Committee will select the place for its office,  which  shall
be provided by Kerala. Tamil Nadu shall bear the entire expenditure  of  the
Committee.

223.        The powers and functions of the Supervisory Committee  shall  be
as follows:

      (i)   The Committee shall supervise the  restoration  of  FRL  in  the
           Mullaperiyar dam to the elevation of 142 ft.

      (ii)   The  Committee  shall  inspect  the  dam   periodically,   more
           particularly, immediately before  the  monsoon  and  during  the
           monsoon and  keep  close  watch  on  its  safety  and  recommend
           measures which are necessary.  Such measures  shall  be  carried
           out by Tamil Nadu.

      (iii) The Committee shall be free to take appropriate steps and  issue
           necessary directions to the two States - Tamil Nadu and Kerala –
           or any of them if so required for the safety of the Mullaperiyar
           dam in an emergent situation.  Such directions shall  be  obeyed
           by all concerned.

      (iv)  The Committee shall permit  Tamil  Nadu  to  carry  out  further
           precautionary  measures  that  may  become  necessary  upon  its
           periodic inspection of the dam in accordance with the guidelines
           of the Central Water Commission and Dam Safety Organisation.

224.        The suit is decreed as above, with no order as to costs.


                                       ………..……………………CJI.
                                        (R.M. Lodha)


                                       ………..……………………...J.
                                        (H.L. Dattu)


                                       ………..……………………...J.
                                        (Chandramauli Kr. Prasad)


                                       ………..……………………...J.
                                        (Madan B. Lokur)


                                       ………..……………………...J.
                                        (M.Y. Eqbal)

NEW DELHI;
MAY 07, 2014.

                        IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
                        CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION


                 SPECIAL LEAVE PETITION (C) No.13955 of 2012


C.R. NEELAKANDAN & ANR.                            … PETITIONERS


                                   VERSUS


UNION OF INDIA & ORS.                              … RESPONDENTS



                                  O R D E R


      In view of our separate judgment pronounced  today  in  Original  Suit
No.3 of 2006 (State of Tamil Nadu v. State of Kerala and  another),  nothing
further remains to be decided in this  special  leave  petition  and  it  is
dismissed accordingly.

                                            ……..……………………...CJI.
                                               (R.M. Lodha)


                                            ………..……………………...J.
                                               (H.L. Dattu)


                                            ………..……………………...J.
                                               (Chandramauli Kr. Prasad)


                                            ………..……………………...J.
                                               (Madan B. Lokur)


                                            ………..……………………...J.
                                               (M.Y. Eqbal)

NEW DELHI
MAY 07, 2014
-----------------------
[1]     Mullaperiyar Environmental Protection Forum v. Union of India &
Ors.; [(2006) 3 SCC 643]
[2]      The salient features of the 2006 (Amendment) Act  are  as  follows:

      i.   In Section 2, clause (ja) defines ‘custodian’ to  mean  a  State
      Government which has established or is running or otherwise  operating
      any dam in Kerala. Further, clause (ala) defines  ‘Scheduled  Dam’  to
      mean any dam included in the second schedule. The very first entry  in
      the Second Schedule is the Mullai Periyar Dam.
      ii.  In Section  57  (1)  the  words  “Surveillance,  inspection”  is
      replaced by “ensuring the safety and security”
      iii. Introduction of 57(3) in main Chapter XII – ‘Constitution of Dam
      Safety Authority’ to give effect to Chapter XII inspite of  any  other
      laws.
      iv.  Replacement of existing section 62(1)(a) to (i) by  new  section
      62 (1)(a) to (j). The newly substituted Section 62(1), in so far as is
      material, reads as under:
      62(1)  Notwithstanding anything contained in any other law,  judgment,
      decree or order of any Court or in any  treaty,  agreement,  contract,
      instrument  or  other  document,  the  authority  shall  exercise  the
      following powers viz:-
           (a)(b)(c)  xxx   xxx   xxx
            (d)  to direct the custodians  to  carry  out  any  alteration,
           improvement, replacement or strengthening measures  to  any  dam
           found to pose a treat to human life or property;
           (e)   to direct the custodian to suspend the functioning of  any
           dam, to decommission any dam or restrict the functioning of  any
           dam if public safety or threat to human  life  or  property,  so
           requires;
           (f)   to advise the Government,  custodian,  or  other  agencies
           about  policies  and  procedures  to   be   followed   in   site
           investigation, design, construction, operation  and  maintenance
           of dams;
           (g)   to conduct studies, inspect and advise  the  custodian  or
           any other agency on the advisability of raising or  lowering  of
           the Maximum Water Level or Full Reservoir Level of any  dam  not
           being a scheduled dam, taking into account the safety of the dam
           concerned;
           (h)   to conduct studies, inspect and advise  the  custodian  or
           any agency on the sustainability or suitability of any  dam  not
           being a scheduled dam, to hold water in its  reservoir,  to  get
           expert opinion of international repute, and  provide  advice  by
           dam-break  analysis  and  independent  study   and   to   direct
           strengthening measures or require the commissioning of a new dam
           within a timeframe to be  prescribed  to  replace  the  existing
           dam;”
[3]    State of Andhra Pradesh v. State of Maharashtra and Ors.; [(2013) 5
SCC 68].
[4]    Dr. Babu Ram Saksena v. State;  [AIR 1950 SC 155]
[5]    State of Himachal Pradesh v. Union of India & Ors.; [(2011) 13 SCC
344]
[6]    Virendra Singh & Ors. v. State of Uttar Pradesh; [(1955) 1 SCR 415 :
AIR 1954 SC 447]
[7]    363. Bar to  interference  by  courts  in  disputes  arising  out  of
certain treaties, agreements, etc. – (1) Notwithstanding  anything  in  this
Constitution but subject to the  provisions  of  Article  143,  neither  the
Supreme Court nor any other court shall have  jurisdiction  in  any  dispute
arising out of any provision of a treaty, agreement,  covenant,  engagement,
sanad or other similar instrument which was entered into or executed  before
the commencement of this Constitution by any Ruler of an  Indian  State  and
to which the Government of the Dominion of India or any of  its  predecessor
Government was a party and which has or  has  been  continued  in  operation
after such commencement, or in any dispute in respect of any right  accruing
under or any liability or obligation arising out of any  of  the  provisions
of this Constitution relating  to  any  such  treaty,  agreement,  covenant,
engagement, sanad or other similar instrument
      (2) In this article -
       (a)  “Indian  State”  means  any  territory  recognised  before   the
commencement of this Constitution by His Majesty or the  Government  of  the
Dominion of India as being such a State; and
      (b)  “Ruler” includes the Prince, Chief or other person recognised
before such commencement by His Majesty or the Government of the Dominion
of India as the Ruler of any Indian State.
[8]    Art. 131. Original jurisdiction of the Supreme Court.— Subject to
the provisions of this Constitution, the Supreme Court shall, to the
exclusion of any other court, have original jurisdiction in any dispute—
   a)       between the Government of India and one or more States; or
   b)       between the Government of India and any State or States on one
      side and one or more other States on the other; or
   c)       between two or more States,
      if and in so far as the dispute involves any question (whether of law
   or fact) on which the existence or extent of a legal right depends:
      Provided that the said jurisdiction shall not extend to a dispute
arising out of any treaty, agreement, covenant, engagement, sanad or other
similar instrument which, having been entered into or executed before the
commencement of this Constitution, continues in operation after such
commencement, or which provides that the said jurisdiction shall not extend
to such a dispute.”
[9]    294.   Succession  to  property,  assets,  rights,  liabilities   and
obligations  in  certain   cases.—As   from   the   commencement   of   this
Constitution—
        (a)     ...............
        (b)  all rights, liabilities and obligations of  the  Government  of
the Dominion of India and of the Government  of  each  Governor’s  Province,
whether arising out of any contract  or  otherwise,  shall  be  the  rights,
liabilities and obligations respectively of the Government of India and  the
Government of each corresponding State,
      subject to any adjustment  made  or  to  be  made  by  reason  of  the
creation before the commencement of this Constitution  of  the  Dominion  of
Pakistan or of the Provinces of West Bengal, East Bengal,  West  Punjab  and
East Punjab.
[10]   Article 295 - Succession to  property,  assets,  rights,  liabilities
and obligations in other cases. -
      (1) As from the commencement of this Constitution-
       (a)  all  property  and  assets   which   immediately   before   such
commencement were vested in  any  Indian  State  corresponding  to  a  State
specified in Part B of the First Schedule shall vest in the  Union,  if  the
purposes for which such property and assets  were  held  immediately  before
such commencement will thereafter be purposes of the Union relating  to  any
of the matters enumerated in the Union List, and
      (b) all rights, liabilities and obligations of the Government  of  any
Indian State corresponding to a State specified  in  Part  B  of  the  First
Schedule, whether arising out of any contract or  otherwise,  shall  be  the
rights, liabilities and obligations of  the  Government  of  India,  if  the
purposes for which such rights were acquired or liabilities  or  obligations
were incurred before such commencement will thereafter be  purposes  of  the
Government of India relating to any of the matters enumerated in  the  Union
List,
       subject  to  any  agreement  entered  into  in  that  behalf  by  the
Government of India with the Government of that State.
      (2) Subject as aforesaid, the Government of each  State  specified  in
Part B of the First  Schedule  shall,  as  from  the  commencement  of  this
Constitution, be the  successor  of  the  Government  of  the  corresponding
Indian State as regards all property and assets and all rights,  liabilities
and obligations, whether arising out of any  contract  or  otherwise,  other
than those referred to in clause (1).
[11]    Shri Prithvi Cotton Mills Ltd. and Anr. v. Broach Borough
Municipality and Ors.; [(1969) 2 SCC 283]
[12]    Don John Francis Douglas Liyanage & Ors. v. The Queen; [(1966) 1
All E.R. 650]
[13]    Indra Sawhney v. Union of India and Others; [(2000) 1 SCC 168]
[14]    Madan Mohan Pathak & Anr. v. Union of India and Others; [(1978) 2
SCC 50]
[15]    People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) and Anr. v. Union of
India and Anr.; [(2003) 4 SCC 399]
[16]    Municipal Corporation of the City of Ahmedabad & Anr. v. New Shrock
Spg. And Wvg. Co. Ltd.
           [(1970) 2   SCC 280]
[17]    Janapada Sabha Chhindwara v. Central Provinces Syndicate Ltd. and
Anr.; [(1970) 1 SCC 509]
[18]    Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal, Re; [1993 Supp (1) SCC 96 (2)]
[19]   Thakur Jagannath Baksh Singh v. The United Provinces; [73 IA 123]
[20]   Maharaj Umeg Singh and Ors. v. State of Bombay and Ors.; [(1955) 2
SCR 164]
[21]    Arthur M. Manigault v.  Alfred A. Springs et al; [(1905) 199 US
473]
[22]    “The Public Trust Doctrine in the Water Rights Contexts” by
   Roderick E. Walston; 29 Natural Resources Journal 585.
[23]    Brotherhood of Locomotive Firemen & Enginemen et al. v. Chicago,
Rock Island & Pacific Rail-Road
           Co. et al.; [(1968) 393 US 129]
[24]    Raymond Motor Transportation, Inc. et al. v. Zel S. Rice et al.;
[(1978) 434 US 429]
[25]    Raymond Kassel et al. v. Consolidated Freightways Corporation of
Delaware; [(1981) 450 US 662]
[26]    American Trucking Associations, Inc. v. Thomas D. Larson; [(1982)
683 F.2d 787]
[27]    Pfizer Animal Health SA v. Council of the European Union; [(2002)
ECR II-03305]
[28]   “Science and Risk Regulation and International Law” by Jacqueline
Peel; Published by Cambridge University Press, 2010.
[29]    The State of Pennsylvania v. The Wheeling and Belmont Bridge
Company, et al.;[ (1855) 59 U.S. 421]
[30]    The Clinton Bridge case; [(1870) 77 US 454]
[31]    Hodges et al. v. Snyder et al.; [(1923) 261 US 600]
[32]    Charles B. Miller, Superintendent, Pendleton Correctional Facility
et al.  v. Richard A. French et al.; [(2000)
           530 U.S. 327]
[33]    Union of India v. Elphinstone Spinning and Weaving Co. Ltd. and
Ors.; [(2001) 4 SCC 139].
[34]    Sanjeev Coke Manufacturing Co. v. M/s. Bharat Coking Coal Ltd. and
Anr.; [(1983) 1 SCC 147]
[35]    M/s. Doypack Systems Pvt. Ltd. v. Union of India and Ors.; [(1988)
2 SCC 299]
[36]    Mahal Chand Sethia v. State of West Bengal;  Crl. A. No. 75 of
1969, decided on 10th September, 1969;
           [1969 (2) UJ 616 SC]
[37]   Patel Gordhandas Hargovindas v. Municipal Commissioner, Ahmedabad ;
[(1964) 2 SCR 608]
[38]   State of M.P. v. Amalgamated Coalfields Ltd. and Anr; [(1970) 1 SCC
509].
[39]    P. Sambamurthy and Ors.  v. State of A.P. and Anr.;[ (1987) 1 SCC
362]
[40]    Union of India v. Association for Democratic Reforms and Anr.;
[(2002) 5 SCC 294]
[41]   His Holiness Kesavananda Bharati Sripadagalvaru v. State of Kerala
and Anr.;[(1973) 4 SCC 225]
[42]    Smt. Indira Nehru Gandhi v. Shri Raj Narain and Anr; [1975 (Supp.)
SCC 1]
[43]    State of Bihar and Anr. v. Bal Mukund Sah and Others; [(2000) 4 SCC
640]
[44]    I.R. Coelho (Dead) by LRs. v. State of T.N.; [(2007) 2 SCC 1]
[45]    I.N. Saksena v. State of Madhya Pradesh; [(1976) 4 SCC 750]
[46]    Hari Singh and Ors. v. Military Estate Officer and Anr.; [(1972) 2
SCC 239]
[47]    Hindustan Gum and Chemicals Ltd. v. State of Haryana and Others;
[(1985) 4 SCC 124]
[48]   Vijay Mills Company Limited and Others v. State of Gujarat and Ors.;
[(1993) 1 SCC 345]
[49]   P. Kannadasan and Others v. State of T.N. and Others; [(1996) 5 SCC
670]
[50]    Indian Aluminium Company and Others v. State of Kerala and Others;
[(1996) 7 SCC 637]
[51]    State of T.N. v. Arooran Sugars Ltd.; [(1997) 1 SCC 326]
[52]   Dharam Dutt and Ors. v. Union of India and Ors.; [(2004) 1 SCC 712]
[53]    Sri Sri Sri K.C. Gajapati Narayan Deo v. State of Orissa; [AIR 1953
SC 375]
[54]    Board of Trustees, Ayurvedic and Unani Tibia College, Delhi v.
State of Delhi (now Delhi Administration)
           and Anr.; [AIR 1962 SC 458]
[55]    Virender Singh Hooda (II) and Ors. v. State of Haryana and Another;
[(2004) 12 SCC 588]
[56]    Virender Singh Hooda (I) and Ors. v. State of Haryana and Another;
[(1999) 3 SCC 696]
[57]    Sandeep Singh  v. State of Haryana and Anr.; [(2002) 10 SCC 549]
[58]    Tirath Ram Rajinder Nath, Lucknow  v. State of U.P. and Anr.;
[(1973) 3 SCC 585]
[59]    S.S. Bola and Ors. v. B.D. Sardana and Ors.; [(1997) 8 SCC 522]
[60]    Nicholas v. the Queen; [(1998) 193 CLR 173]
[61]    Plaut et al. v. Spendthrift Farm, Inc., et al.; [(1995) 514 U.S.
211]
[62]   Duchess of Kingston; 2 Smith Lead Cas 13 Ed. Pp. 644, 645.
[63]   Sheoparsan Singh v. Ramnandan Prashad Narayan Singh; [AIR 1916 PC
78]
[64]   Daryao and Ors. v. State of U.P. and Ors.; [AIR 1961 SC 1457]
[65]   Pandit M.S.M. Sharma v. Dr. Shree Krishna Sinha and Ors.; [AIR 1960
SC 1186]
[66]   Gulab Chand Chhotalal Parikh v. State of Bombay; [(1965) 2 SCR 547]
[67]   Union of India v. Nanak Singh; [(1968) 2 SCR 887 : AIR 1968 SC 1370]
[68]   State of Punjab v. Bua Das Kaushal; [ (1970) 3 SCC 656]
[69]   N.D. Jayal and Anr. v. Union of India and Ors.; [(2004) 9 SCC 362]
[70]   Section 11 – Res judicata
      No Court shall try any suit or issue in which the matter directly and
 substantially in issue has been directly and substantially in issue  in  a
 former suit between the same parties, or between parties under  whom  they
 or any of them  claim,  litigating  under  the  same  title,  in  a  Court
 competent to try such subsequent suit or the suit in which such issue  has
 been subsequently raised, and has been heard and finally decided  by  such
 Court.

      Explanation I. – The expression “former suit”  shall  denote  a  suit
 which has been decided prior to the suit in question whether or not it was
 instituted prior thereto.

      Explanation II. – For the purposes of this section, the competence of
 a Court shall be determined irrespective of any provisions as to  a  right
 of appeal from the decision of such Court.

      Explanation III. – The matter above referred to must  in  the  former
 suit have been alleged  by  one  party  and  either  denied  or  admitted,
 expressly or impliedly, by the other.

      Explanation IV. – Any matter which might and ought to have been  made
 ground of defence or attack in such former suit shall be  deemed  to  have
 been a matter directly and substantially in issue in such suit.

      Explanation V. – Any relief claimed  in  the  plaint,  which  is  not
 expressly granted by the decree, shall, for the purposes of this  section,
 be deemed to have been refused.

      Explanation VI. – Where persons litigate bona fide in  respect  of  a
 public right or of a private right claimed in common  for  themselves  and
 others, all persons interested in such right shall, for  the  purposes  of
 this section, be deemed to claim under the persons so litigating.

      Explanation VII. – The provisions of this section shall  apply  to  a
 proceeding for the execution of a decree and references in this section to
 any  suit,  issue  or  former  suit  shall  be  construed  as  references,
 respectively, to a proceeding for the execution of  the  decree,  question
 arising in such proceeding and a former proceeding for  the  execution  of
 that decree.

      Explanation VIII. – An issue heard and finally decided by a Court  of
 limited jurisdiction, competent to decide such issue, shall operate as res
 judicata in a subsequent suit, notwithstanding that such Court of  limited
 jurisdiction was not competent to try such subsequent suit or the suit  in
 which such issue has been subsequently raised.
[71]    State of Orissa Vs. State of A.P.; [(2006) 9 SCC 591]
[72]   R.S. Nayak v. A.R. Antulay; [(1984) 2 SCC 183]
[73]    Isabella Johnson (Smt.) v. M.A. Susai (Dead) by Lrs.; [(1991) 1 SCC
494]
[74]    Rupa Ashok Hurra v. Ashok Hurra and Anr.; [(2002) 4 SCC 388]
[75]   Regina v. Deputy Industrial Injuries Commissioner, Ex parte Jones;
[(1962) 2 QB 677].

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