The Supreme Court has asked the Madhya Pradesh government to approach the high court for sparing two judicial officers to preside over the grievance redressal authorities for deciding compensation disputes of oustees of Sardar Sarovar Project (SSP) on river Narmada.
A bench headed by Chief Justice J S Khehar directed the state chief secretary to approach the registrar general of the high court and seek a recommendation in this regard.
The apex court expressed the hope that the chief justice of the high court would make such a recommendation after which the state government would notify the names.
“With the consent of the counsel for the rival parties, we consider it just and appropriate to allow the chief secretary of the State of Madhya Pradesh to approach the registrar general of the high court…and to request him to seek a recommendation from the chief justice of the High Court of Madhya Pradesh, for appointment of two judicial members to the two additional grievance redressal authorities.
“We hope and expect, that the chief justice shall be in a position to make such a recommendation, on or before March 8. Thereupon, the State of Madhya Pradesh shall notify the two additional grievance redressal authorities, by issuing an appropriate notification, by March 9,” said the bench, also comprising Justices D Y Chandrachud and S K Kaul.
The matter has been posted for next hearing to March 10.
The apex court had earlier said that to ensure “better deal” for the project-affected families, it is willing to “twist” the arms of the executive and had asked the Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA) and states — Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat and Maharashtra — to suggest names of experts who could be appointed to the committee which would deal with the issue of resettlement and rehabilitation of the oustees.
The court had made it clear to the parties, including activist Medha Patekar-led NBA, that it would not allow stalling of the project.
The issue of compensation will cover 193 villages in Madhya Pradesh, 33 in Maharashtra and 19 in Gujarat.
The apex court is hearing petitions pertaining to rehabilitation of oustees of the project.