State government files application in Supreme Court

The Tamil Nadu government has filed an application in the Supreme Court for a direction to the Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal to take up for hearing petitions seeking ‘guidance and explanation' on the final order passed by the Tribunal in February 2007 under Section 5 (3) of the Inter State Water Disputes Act and dispose of the same at an early date. It is to be mentioned on Thursday for early listing.

Tamil Nadu in its application said that after the Tribunal gave its final order, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Kerala had challenged the same and the appeals could not be heard though they were pending adjudication since 2007.

It said Karnataka, on the one hand, was taking the stand that the Interim Order of the Tribunal passed in 1991 had lapsed and it would be guided by the final order of the Tribunal and, on the other hand, was taking up projects/schemes, which were expressly not approved by the Tribunal in its final order dated February 5, 2007. Further, Karnataka had taken the stand that the interim order had lapsed and the final decision dated February 5, 2005 was inoperative because it has not been gazetted.

The petitioner pointed out that it was believed that the appeals against the final order of the Tribunal would be disposed of at an early date. However, since they could not be heard the present application was being filed for a direction to the Tribunal to dispose of the pending applications.

It submitted that the Cauvery was the lifeline of Tamil Nadu which contributed about 45 per cent of the total surface flows in Tamil Nadu. “The State of Karnataka which is the upper riparian is duty-bound to ensure the stipulated flows at the Tamil Nadu border during the irrigation season every year. The failure to adhere to the stipulated releases affects agriculture and consequently, the economy of the State, which is largely agro-based in the Cauvery Basin.”

Tamil Nadu had been pleading for grant of restraint order on Karnataka from taking up the projects pending disposal of the appeals. It would be in the interests of justice, if appropriate orders directing the Tribunal to dispose of the applications filed by the party States and the Central government under section 5 (3) of ISWD Act at the earliest were given.

It wanted the court to clarify that there would be no impediment for the Tribunal in proceeding with the applications notwithstanding the pendency of the Civil Appeals.