The Centre on Tuesday contended before the Madras High Court Bench here that a public interest litigation petition filed by Tamil Nadu Public Works Department Senior Engineers Association to remove encroachments in the Mullaperiyar dam area could be heard only by the Supreme Court since it involved an inter-State dispute between Tamil Nadu and Kerala.
Assistant Solicitor General G.R. Swaminathan raised the contention before a Division Bench of Justices A. Selvam and N. Authinathan who adjourned the case filed by the association to April 27 for explaining whether the High Court could continue to hear the case in view of the stand taken by the Centre on the ground of inter State dispute.
In the PIL petition filed in 2011, the association had sought for a slew of directions to the Centre as well as the State Governments of Tamil Nadu and Kerala. They included provision of adequate security to the dam, the Tamil Nadu PWD engineers posted there, their families, the Tamil tourists and the Ayyappa devotees and safeguard them from being attacked by political outfits in Kerala.
The petitioner association also sought for replacing the Kerala police personnel at the dam site with the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) or Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) personnel. It also wanted trained fire-fighting personnel to be posted around the dam area along with sufficient number of fire-fighting equipment to safeguard lives and properties.