Following a recommendation from an experts’ group, the bench of Chief Justice Y K Sabharwal and judges C K Thakker and P K Balasubramanyan passed the order. The court reacted to petitions filed by President of the Janata Party Subramanian Swamy and the Tamil Nadu government, who had been seeking a raise to 46m – its full capacity – in order to help irrigate its water-starved districts.

However, Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy remains adamant that his government will appeal the decision and keep the water level of Mullaperiyar dam at its present level – and added that the current 41.5m amount poses no harm to the interests of Tamil Nadu.

Mullaperiyar dam was commissioned in 1895 and has a total length of 439m.