The five-judge bench headed by Justice D K Jain said that the maintenance and the cleaning work at the dam would be undertaken under the supervision of a three-member committee. The case has been posted for further hearing on 31 August.
The three-member committee will comprise of a Superintending Engineer each from Tamilnadu and Kerala and an independent representative nominated by the Chairman of Central Works Commission.
The court's order came in pursuance of an application by Tamilnadu government headed by Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa, seeking directions to Kerala to permit maintenance and cleaning of the dam by it.
The court has permitted 40 reports commissioned by an empowered committee be given to both Tamilnadu and Kerala. The empowered committee headed by the former Chief Justice of India, Justice A S Anand, was set up by the Supreme Court to look into the safety of the dam.
This is the first hearing of the case after the apex court-appointed empowered committee submitted a report endorsing the safety of the 116-year-old dam.
On 4 May, a Constitution Bench of Justices D K Jain, R M Lodha, Deepak Verma, C K Prasad and Anil R Dave asked the Registry to supply copies of the report to the Union government, Tamilnadu and Kerala and directed the matter be listed for further hearing to 23 July.
The hearing assumed significance as the Kerala government has contested the key findings of the empowered panel on the safety aspects of the dam and is sticking to its demand for anew dam. The Supreme Court also took up petitions filed by Tamilnadu, one of which has sought a direction to Kerala not to object to routine maintenance works on the dam.
The Tamilnadu government has also moved the court to prevent Kerala from carrying out a study for real-time monitoring of water build up in the dam or any other studies on the dam.
In May this year, Jayalalithaa urged the Centre to advise Kerala not to prevent Tamilnadu officials from closing the drilled holes on the Mullaiperiyar dam.
In a letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, she said that her government would deploy its own police force, if the Centre did not deploy Central forces at the dam site.
Jayalalithaa said Tamilnadu's earlier request made in the form of letters and Memorandums, seeking to deploy Central Industrial Security Force to safeguard the Dam, was not yet acceded to by the Centre.