A Mockery of Justice Delivery

Published on: December 29, 2015
and compensatory measures for environmental protection in compliance with the scheme framed by the Govt. thereby protecting the rights under Article 21 of the Constitution and keeping these principles in view the court issued the following directions:-

1)   Construction of the dam will continue as per the Award of the Tribunal;

2)   As the Relief and Rehabilitation Sub-group have cleared the construction up to 90 meters, the same can be undertaken immediately. Further, raising of the height will be only pari passu with the implementation of the relief and rehabilitation and on the clearance by the Relief and Rehabilitation Sub-group. The Relief and Rehabilitation Sub-group will give clearance of further construction after consulting the three Grievances Redressal Authorities. The Rehabilitation Master Plan is to be prepared by December 1989;

3)   The Environment Sub-group under the Secretary, Ministry of Environment & Forests, Government of India, will consider and give environmental clearance, at each stage of the construction of the dam before further construction beyond 90 meters can be undertaken.

4)   The permission to raise the dam height beyond 90 meters will be given by the Narmada Control Authority, from time to time, after it obtains the abovementioned clearances from the Relief and Rehabilitation Sub-group and the Environment Sub-group;

5)   The reports of the Grievances Redressal Authorities, and of Madhya Pradesh in particular, shows that there is a considerable slackness in the work of identification of land, acquisition of suitable land and the consequent steps necessary to be taken to rehabilitate the project oustees. We direct the States of Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Gujarat to implement the Award and give relief and rehabilitation to the oustees in terms of the packages offered by them and these states shall comply with any direction in this regard which is given either by NCA or the Review Committee or the Grievance Redressal Authorities;

6)   Even though there has been substantial compliance with the conditions imposed under the environment clearance the NCA and the Environment Sub-group will continue to monitor and ensure that all steps are taken not only to protect but to restore and improve the environment;

7)   The NCA will, within four weeks from today draw up an Action Plan in relation to further construction and the relief and rehabilitation work to be undertaken. Such an Action Plan will fix a time frame so as to ensure relief and rehabilitation pari passu with the increase in the height of the dam. Each State shall abide by the terms of the action plan so prepared by the NCA and in the event of any dispute or difficulty arising, representation may be made to the Review Committee. However, each State shall be bound to comply with the directions of the NCA with regard to the acquisition of land for the purpose of relief and rehabilitation to the extent and within the period specified by the NCA;

8)   The Review Committee shall meet whenever required to do so in the event of their being any un-resolved dispute on an issue which is before the NCA. In any event the Review Committee shall meet at least once in three months so as to oversee the progress of construction of the dam and implementation of the R&R programmes. If for any reason serious differences in implementation of the Award arise and the same cannot be resolved in the Review Committee, the Committee may refer the same to the Prime Minister whose decision, in respect thereof, shall be final and binding on all concerned;

9)   The Grievance Redressal Authorities will be at liberty, in case the need arises, to issue appropriate directions to the respective States for due implementation of the R&R programmes and in case of non-implementation of its directions, the GRAs will be at liberty to approach the Review Committee for appropriate orders;

10)   Every endeavor shall be made to see that the project is completed as expeditiously as possible.
Highlights of the judgment of Hon’ble Supreme Court dated 15.3.2005 (2005 (4) SCC 32). A 3-Judge Bench of the Hon’ble Supreme Court delivered another significant order in the Narmada Bachao Andolan case in IA Nos 10, 11 and Ors. wherein it was recorded that in the 2000 Judgment construction of the dam was permitted upto 90 metres on the condition that further raising of the height would be only pari passu with the implementation of resettlement and rehabilitation measures. This Hon’ble Court clearly noted Para 55 that those PAFs who are affected with the raising of dam height at 90 metres “remain affected” by further rising thereof upto 100 metres.

After noting the condition of the river valley of Narmada shaped lie an inverted cone, where area of submergence increases exponentially for each meter of height raised, it was directed that people should be rehabilitated immediately before permitting the dam height to be increased by applying the principle of pari passu. The Hon’ble Court categorically, interalia directed:
  • Allotment of cultivable, irrigable and suitable agricultural land to all the eligible PAFs affected by SSP and their major sons, as per NWDTA.
  • There shall be no distinction between temporary and permanent submergence in so far as R&R is concerned.
  • Referring to the Judgment of 2000, the Hon’ble Court has stated “In view of the dicta of this Court that the oustees would be better off at the rehabilitated place, they should be offered lands which are really cultivable or irrigable.”
Section 7: Entitlements and Violations:
PAF must receive the following entitlements:-
  1. Allotment of a minimum 2 hectares of cultivable and irrigable agricultural land to all those oustees from whom more than 25% land is acquired for the SSP and their adult sons. 
  2. A plot of land measuring 60’x90’ free of cost to oustees in rehabilitation villages.
  3. The rehabilitation village must also have all  civil amenities including Primary School, Panchayat Ghar for every 500 families, village pond for 500 families, drinking water well for every 50 families, access road etc.
  4. In no event shall any area be submerged unless all payments of compensation, expenses and cost are made.
  5. The displaced families must improve their previous standard of living.
  6. Special care would be taken of the families of scheduled castes, scheduled tribes, marginal farmers and small farmers.
  7. The rehabilitation policy be so implemented that middlemen and profiteers would get eliminated.
  8. Rehabilitation be completed six months prior to submergence, leading to vacation of the land / house.
  9. Rise in dam height has been made conditional with “Pari Passu” with rehabilitation measures (2000(10) SCC664) and on clearance by the Relief and Rehabilitation Sub-group.
  10. The land required to be allotted to the tribal is likely to be equal if not better, then what they had own.
  11. Consent of PAFs for rehabilitation is essential.
  12. Land offered in fact should be cultivable and irrigable (2005(4) SCC 32)
  13. The Government should ensure that the allocated land is not encroached upon by the unscrupulous persons.
  14. The GRA is to ensure the complete resettlement and rehabilitation of SSP PAFs.
The Right to compensation of PAFs for illegal submergence prior to rehabilitation