In Court

Published: Friday 15 April 2005

Justice prevails: The Supreme Court on March 15, 2005, ruled that states will have to allot alternative cultivable land to even those people who have been affected temporarily by the Sardar Sarovar Project on Narmada River. The judgement is expected to have a major impact on the relief and rehabilitation being doled out to the affected people before the height of the 110 metre high dam is raised further. The dam is to be raised to a height of 138 metres. But on a petition filed by the Narmada Bachao Aandolan, the court had said the height had to be raised in phases, after completing the relief and rehabilitation work.

No to Coke: The Kerala High Court has denied permission to the Coca-Cola Company on March 17, 2004, to draw groundwater from its plant at Plachimada in Palakkad. The decision went against the recommendation of the expert committee constituted by the court to look into the charges of the company overexploiting the groundwater in the area. The committee had recommended that Coca-Cola be allowed to draw water at the rate of 500,000 litres a day under conditions of normal rainfall. The court pointed out that the copy of the committee's report had not been given to the Perumatty gram panchayat and other respondents to enable them to file objections (see Down To Earth, 'Calling the shots', December 15, 2003,).

Pleading not guilty: Responding to a lawsuit filed in the US alleging that it failed to warn people about the tsunami disaster, the Thai government asserted on March 8, 2005, that "the disaster was a force majeure that could not possibly have been predicted...". The tsunami killed over 5,300 people, more than half of them foreigners, in Thailand.

The lawsuit was filed on behalf of tsunami victims in a New York district court by US and Austrian lawyers. It demanded that the Thai government, US forecasters and the French Accor group reply to the accusations. Accor ran a resort on Khao Lak beach, a badly-hit area.

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