Supreme Court tells Centre Karnataka elections not an excuse to resolve Cauvery water sharing dispute

The Supreme Court on Thursday asked the Centre to apprise it on May 8 about steps taken for setting up of the Cauvery Management Board for implementation of its judgment on distribution of river water among Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Kerala and Puducherry.  

  • Published 3.05.18
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The Supreme Court. File picture

New Delhi, May 3 (PTI): The Supreme Court on Thursday asked the Centre to apprise it on May 8 about steps taken for setting up of the Cauvery Management Board for implementation of its judgment on distribution of river water among Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Kerala and Puducherry.  

The Centre, which was asked by the top court to frame and file a draft Cauvery management scheme by May 3, on Thursday asked it to hear the matter a day after the Karnataka polls on the ground that the draft scheme has to be put before the Union Cabinet for approval.

Attorney General K.K. Venugopal told a bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices A.M. Khanwilkar and D.Y. Chandrachud that Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his cabinet colleagues are busy campaigning in Karnataka and hence the draft could not be placed before the Union Cabinet.

Senior advocate Shekhar Naphade, appearing for Tamil Nadu, took strong exception at the submission saying, “This is the end of co-operative federalism and the rule of law in the country. This is the partisan attitude of the union of India to favour Karnataka.”

He referred to the ongoing summer and the water crisis being faced by citizens of Tamil Nadu.

The bench initially asked the Karnataka government to release four TMC of Cauvery water to Tamil Nadu by May 8, but later directed the state to apprise it “as to how much water can be released”.

Earlier the apex court had asked the Tamil Nadu and Karnataka governments to ensure that peace prevails till it finalises the Cauvery management scheme for implementation of its judgment on water distribution.

It said once the Centre places the draft scheme, which would also include Cauvery Water Management Board and Monitoring Authority, it would consider the grievances of all the stakeholder states.

The apex court, in its verdict, had asked the Centre to formulate a scheme to ensure compliance of its 465-page judgment on the decades-old Cauvery dispute. It had modified the CWDT award of 2007 and made it clear that it will not be extending time for this on any ground.

The top court had on February 16 raised the 270 tmcft share of Cauvery water for Karnataka by 14.75 tmcft and reduced Tamil Nadu's share, while compensating it by allowing extraction of 10 tmcft groundwater from the river basin, saying the issue of drinking water has to be placed on a “higher pedestal”.

With the apex court's verdict, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Kerala and Union Territory of Puducherry would be annually entitled to 404.25 tmcft, 284.75 tmcft, 30 tmcft and 7 tmcft of Cauvery water respectively out of the total of 740 tmcft.

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