Amid disputes between States over water-sharing, Karnataka on Friday demanded formation of a permanent water disputes tribunal in the Supreme Court and revisiting the Inter-State Water Disputes Act to remove “loose ends” in the legislation.
“Permanent water dispute tribunal should be established in the Apex Court and its benches at all the States’ High Courts on the lines of the Green Bench,” Chief Minister Jagadish Shettar said in his speech at the sixth meeting of the national water resources council in New Delhi.
He suggested that it should have a sitting Supreme Court judge as its chairperson with multi-members from technical, environmental, geological, economical and legal fields.
Noting that present laws “create more disputes because of several loose ends” in the existing Acts, Mr. Shettar said that Inter-State Water Disputes Act should be revisited.
“None of the present laws are able to establish a just water regime to the satisfaction of all the stakeholders,” he said.
Without referring to Cauvery water sharing dispute between Karnataka and Tamil Nadu, Mr. Shettar said in some cases the stand of the Government of India has delayed the projects which can be otherwise.
“The absence of a water regime had been forcing us to go to the Supreme Court, by which Government of India is trying to absolve its conciliatory role which is prescribed by the Indian Constitution, which is an expected role being the Head of the federal structure, which need to be strongly established,” he said.
Mr. Shettar said he made this statement because Karnataka “as a mid- and upper-riparian State suffered in both utilisation and construction of projects which resulted in depriving the people of Karnataka their due and legal right of their share of water.”