State given 3-week time for rejoinder

Contending that it was only a recommendation and not an order by the Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal, the State government on Friday strongly opposed in the Supreme Court Tamil Nadu’s demand for constitution of the Cauvery Management Board (CMB).

A Bench of Justices R.M. Lodha and S.J. Mukhopadhaya, taking on record Karnataka’s reply, granted three weeks’ time to Tamil Nadu to file its rejoinder. Senior counsel C.S. Vaidyanathan appeared for Tamil Nadu and senior counsel Anil Divan represented Karnataka.

Tamil Nadu had contended that the constitution of the Supervisory Committee had become a futile exercise as Karnataka had raised several issues at the meeting. Karnataka was thus attempting to get over the binding adjudication and avoid the implementation of the final order in letter and spirit.

Karnataka, in its reply, said that no direction had been given by the tribunal for the constitution of the CMB and the “recommendation remains a recommendation”.

Even the recommendation was a subject matter of challenge in the pending appeal before this court, it said.

Karnataka pointed out that as per the tribunal’s final order, there was a crucial direction to the regulatory authority that after five years the authority “may allow modification/adjustment in the monthly schedule of water.”

The State said: “Five years have elapsed since the tribunal passed the final order. Hence, Karnataka raised the issue before the supervisory committee that the releases of 134 tmcft for the period June to September in a normal year should be reduced to 97.82 tmcft by shifting 36.18 tmcft to the post-September period. For June this year, 11.60 tmcft water has been released.” Karnataka maintained that as per the Tribunal order, 192 tmcft of water would have to be ensured. It was not open to Tamil Nadu to bypass the findings of the Supervisory committee, the State said and sought dismissal of the application.

‘Unwilling to share water’

Tamil Nadu in its application had said: “The pro-tem Supervisory Committee for the implementation of the Final Order was formed after Karnataka suggested it.

However, its stand that it is not properly formed and it cannot take decisions, clearly demonstrates demonstrate that Karnataka is not willing to share water with Tamil Nadu and that it will continue its defiant attitude of not implementing the binding adjudication of the Tribunal. Thus, the said stand of Karnataka virtually rendered the entire exercise futile, compelling Tamil Nadu to move this Court for the immediate constitution of the Cauvery Management Board.”