Plans to file plea in SC to stall formation of CMB

Karnataka is stated to be contemplating filing another petition in the Supreme Court to stall the constitution of the Cauvery Management Board (CMB) as mandated under the final award of the Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal, which was gazetted by the Union government on February 20.

Being the upper riparian State, Karnataka is keen that its control over the four Cauvery basin reservoirs — Krishnarajasagar, Hemavati, Kabini and Harangi — remains with it for as long as possible. It is therefore keen that the Cauvery River Authority (CRA), under the chairmanship of the Prime Minister, continues until the time the civil appeals pending in the apex court are disposed of.

Chief Minister Jagadish Shettar hosted a luncheon meeting in New Delhi on Wednesday for MPs, including Union Ministers from the State, to arrive at a consensus on the Cauvery issue and to impress on the MPs and the Ministers to prevail upon the Centre to do the needful. Most of the MPs , barring the former Prime Minister H.D. Deve Gowda and the former Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy attended the meeting.

Among the Union Ministers who attended were M. Veerappa Moily, K. Rahman Khan and M. Mallikarjun Kharge. The Chief Minister conveyed at the meeting that all the MPs should rise above party lines and put up a united front to safeguard the interests of the State. The MPs were told that the Union government can use its discretionary powers under Section 6 (A) of the Inter-State River Water Disputes Act and put on hold the constitution of the Cauvery Management Board.

The notification issued on February 20 does not spell out the mechanism although the final award makes specific mention on the constitution of a Cauvery Management Board and a Cauvery Water Regulation Committee. Both the board and the regulation committee are expected to function under the direct charge of the Central Water Commission, although they will comprise representatives of all the four riparian States — Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Puducherry.

Onus on Centre

With the CWDT having been constituted under the provisions of the Inter-State River Water Disputes Act-1956, the ways and means of enforcing the award also goes with the provisions of the same Act.

Thus, under Section 6 (A) of the Act, the Union government has to frame a scheme to give effect to the decision of a tribunal and further an authority has to be established largely aimed at the implementation of the award of a tribunal.

Another added feature is the constitution of such an authority and the scheme that it will oversee will have to be formulated through an Act of Parliament and it is here that Karnataka is seeking intervention by the Union government.

Meets counsel

Later, Mr. Shettar, who was on a day’s visit to the capital, accompanied by Ministers V. Somanna and Basavaraj Bommai, held discussions with State’s counsel Senior Advocate Fali Nariman on the future course of legal action to be taken on the issue.

Mr. Deve Gowda told The Hindu from Bangalore over phone that the Centre, at no cost, should move further for the constitution of the CMB as the matter was sub-judice in the Supreme Court.

Mr. Deve Gowda, who is also the president of the Janata Dal (Secular), recalled a letter written by him as early as February 8, 2007, three days after the CWDT gave its final order, asking Prime Minister Manmohan Singh not to notify CWDT’s final order and constitute other authorities to manage Cauvery water distribution as the final award was against the interests of the people of Karnataka.

More In: Karnataka | National