New Delhi, Oct. 11: Karnataka chief minister S.M. Krishna, his Cabinet colleague H.K. Patil and chief secretary A. Ravindra today faced the second contempt notice of the Supreme Court for “wilfully” defying its October 4 order directing them to release 9,000 cusecs of water per day from the Cauvery dam to Tamil Nadu.
A three-judge bench of Justices V.N. Khare, Arijit Passayat and S.B. Sinha issued the notice, asking for reply on or before October 22 as to why contempt of court proceedings should not be initiated against them.
The notices were issued after Tamil Nadu filed its second contempt petition against Karnataka for flouting the orders of the Supreme Court as well as that of the Cauvery River Authority (CRA) headed by Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee.
The apex court had initially ordered the release of 1.25 TMC feet water daily to Tamil Nadu, but the order also stated that the CRA’s direction would supersede it. Subsequently on September 8 the river authority ordered for the release of at least 9,000 cusecs of water. Karnataka has complied with neither.
Earlier, contempt notices were issued to the chief minister and others when water was not released to Tamil Nadu in defiance of the CRA order.
The court today clubbed both the cases and posted them for further hearing on October 22.
The respondents — Karnataka, the state chief minister, water resources minister and the chief secretary — have been directed to file their replies by October 24 as to why no drop of water was released to Tamil Nadu. The judges, however, dispensed with their presence in person in the court.
Krishna had faced contempt proceedings in the Krishna river water-sharing dispute between Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka also, but was let off after he apologised to the court. In the Cauvery case, he had stated he would not release even a drop of water and undertook a padayatra in his state to “call on the suffering farmers”.
Tamil Nadu’s senior counsel K.K. Venugopal told the court that due to the defiant attitude of Karnataka Kuruvai, crops in Tamil Nadu had suffered and the loss was estimated at Rs 2,930 crore.