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Mullaperiyar row: Wake up time for PM, says Iyer


V R KRISHNA IYER, FORMER SUPREME COURT JUDGE | New Delhi, November 29, 2011 13:31
Tags : Kerala | Tamil Nadu | V R Krishna Iyer | former Supreme Court judge | Parliament and the Central Cabinet | tremors |

India is only one. Kerala and Tamil Nadu are parts of it only. Four tremors hit here on Saturday. The fifth may be grim tragedy for India, the grimmest tragedy in Asia. Don’t gamble! Beware, warns V R Krishna Iyer, former Supreme Court of India.

Wake up Prime Minister, a horrendous Himalayan tragedy wiping out three districts or more located in Kerala but part of IndianTerritory is a proximate probability. Thus, billions of Indian humans and their right to life under Article 21 are a mere gamble Indian 'swaraj' is in peril unless a new dam is constructed at once. This is no legal constitutional dispute between two states but a colossal calamity, perhaps the worst in the history of Asia.

No patriot of either State can afford to be complacent when a disaster threatens to wash away the homes, the slums and the massive occupation of cities like Kochi too dangerous for words. History will never forgive the ministers of either State or of the Centre when they are indifferent to an unimaginable intractable, huge inundation. Is this the wisdom of the Rishis, Prophets and religious Everests.

Prime Minister, I appeal to you in a pathetic plea not to play with the constitutional jurisdiction over water whether state or Centre. Now as the Greatest statesmen with a historic responsibility, intervene immediately not argue on constitutional issues. What is at stake is the right to life of ‘We, the People of India’, their integrity, fraternity and human survival.

Earthquakes have given you warning. The poor have no voice, Parliament and the Central Cabinet have. When I read in the Hindu of today, the statement by Kerala Water Resources Minister Shri P J Joseph, I was shocked at the pathos and the bathos of the state. The Chief Minister helplessly shedding tears and callous Delhi remaining deaf and dumb. There is the precautionary principle in the Rio treaty which is of global grim terrorism. You have no alibi Ministers.

The Indian people in silent sorrow demand to live up to the grave obligation of your high office. The Central power is a massive trust in your hands and if you fail now, generation of Malayalees and Tamils—Indians—all will condemn you.

The precautionary principle extracted by me in an article written to you as early as January of this year is a grim warning. A grave geographical seismic notice of tremors after several tremors telling you don’t delay. Indian mankind’s survival is at stake. All law is for life. Humanity, not legality must prevail. Parliament, assemblies, cities and towns will be a mockery when it goes against a molar mass homicide. India’s Fifth Act justice, justices and judgment of courts cannot damn the country. We are dammed if you will not fight for swaraj security and tranquility won after a do or die struggle.

To wipe every tear from every eyes is the mandate of the Father of the Nation. But when a million eyes are in tears what is your power for remaining idle. The Magna Carta of the cosmos is not mere phrases. Judges of every court in the country must tear up the robes if the Bench is so impotent as not to command the mighty executive or a noisy legislature to protect life. The real rule of law is rule of life. Because

“To none shall we deny justice
To none shall we delay justice
To none shall we sell justice”

November 26, 2011 V.R. KRISHNA IYER

Given below is the letter sent by V R Krishna Iyer to the Prime Minister:


Dr. Manmohan Singh
Hon’ble Prime Minister of India
Room No. 148 B South Block,
Raisina Hill
New Delhi 110 001

November 28, 2011

Dear Great Statesman Prime Minister,

I am writing this to draw your urgent attention to the boiling waters of Mullaperiyar dam. As you might have known, water level in the weak and vulnerable dam has touched 136 ft.

It wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say the 116-year-old dam has become a nightmare for the people of Kerala in general, and the people of three districts including Kochi in particular.

Rising water levels and recurrent tremors in Idukki district confirms the dam is a geological time-bomb which could explode any moment. Idukki has already experienced a series of low intensity tremors in the recent past.

And, there is no guarantee that the next tremor could be of low-intensity in nature. And, if Idukki is to experience is devastating earthquake, the dam is certain to breach.

In such a scenario, it could result in the grimmest tragedy that Asian countries ever would’ve gone through. So, beware! Dear Prime Minister. It’s no time to gamble.

If you don’t wake up now, you would only be putting the lives of lakhs of people at the mercy of a horrendous tragedy that’s fast unfolding. Legally speaking, your inaction would also amount to violating the principles of Article 21.

The said Article guarantees right to life. And, in this case, right to life could be ensured only by constructing a new dam which besides ensuring safety of Keralites will provide water to Tamil Nadu farmers.

I don’t need to remind you that no patriot Indian can remain complacent on the face of such an impending disaster which threatens to wash away everything that’s valuable particularly human lives.
I would like to caution you that history would never forgive the politicians no matter to which State they belong if the mind-boggling issue is approached with casual indifference.

It is my sincere appeal constitutional jurisdiction over waters shouldn’t stop you from taking action based on justice and fair-play. You’ve a historic responsibility which demands immediate intervention.
Recurrent tremors have already warned you. Those who live on the danger’s boundary have no voice and they look up to the parliament and central cabinet for their continued survival.

Chief Minister Oommen Chandy is helplessly shedding tears here while Delhi seems to have become deaf and dumb. Central power is a massive trust in your hands.

If you fail to act, generations of Malayalees and Tamils will condemn you. In a communication sent to you in January this year, I would drawn your attention to precautionary principle in the Rio treaty.

It states that if an action or policy has a suspected risk of causing harm to the public or to the environment, in the absence of scientific consensus that the action or policy is harmful, the burden of proof that it is not harmful falls on those taking the action.

This principle allows policy makers to make discretionary decisions in situations where there is the possibility of harm from taking a particular course or making a certain decision when extensive scientific knowledge on the matter is lacking.

In other words, it implies that there is a social responsibility to protect the public from exposure to harm when scientific investigation has found a plausible risk. These protections could be relaxed only if further scientific findings emerge providing sound evidence that no harm will result.

Let me once again remind you that legality is a foolish gamble when humanity is at risk and the Constitution would be sheer ashes if the Mullaperiyar dam bursts. Yes, patriotism demands a new dam based on Rio Treaty Precautionary Principle.

Before I close a plaintive appeal to you, Madam Jayalalithaaa, Be a statesperson in this critical ethos. Be a great leader of the people. If you hesitate and debate disaster for both states will be the sequel. If you act in unison three of you the new dam will make history. Finally, history summons you Prime Minister to rise to a new wonder. Then ‘Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to a single sublime soul’.

If you hesitate and argue, you would be damned.

With regards,
Yours sincerely,


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Issue Dated: Feb 5, 2017