In 1994, the Narmada Bachao Andolan challenged the dam construction before the Supreme Court of India.

Intense exchange and debate inside and outside the Court took place regarding the real costs of development. Given the serious allegations of violations, the Court stopped the dam construction between 1994 and 1999.

In 2000, the Court rendered its decision, which was a 2:1 divided judgment. The construction of the dam could go on, but strict conditions were defined: the construction must be as per the Tribunal’s norms, resettlement and rehabilitation must precede successive increasing of the dam height, land and livelihoods must be secured as part of rights to life, and better off situations after displacement shall be ensured.

The Court furthermore developed an elaborate procedure to be followed to raise the dam height beyond 90 meters: permission will be given by the Narmada Control Authority after it obtains clearances from the Environmental and R&R Sub Groups.



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