The Supreme Court on Thursday directed that all three appeals filed by Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Kerala against the final orders of the Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal be listed for hearing in the third week of October.
A three-Judge bench of Justice R.V. Raveendran, Justice A.K. Patnaik and Justice H.L. Gokhale gave this direction on a mention by senior counsel C.S. Vaidyanathan, appearing for Tamil Nadu, for early listing of an application to direct the Tribunal to dispose of petitions seeking “guidance and explanation,” on the final order passed by the Tribunal in February 2007. When Mr. Justice Raveendran asked counsel, “What is the urgency”, Mr. Vaidyanathan said, “There is some urgency and that is why the application has been filed.” Mr. Justice Raveendran countered counsel saying according to the ‘office report', “there is no urgency.”
The Bench, therefore, directed the application to be listed for hearing along with the appeals filed by the three States in the third week of October.
Tamil Nadu in its application stated that 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 while on the other it was taking up projects/schemes 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 had not been gazetted.
It submitted that the Cauvery was the lifeline of Tamil Nadu that contributed 45 per cent of the total surface flow in the State. “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.”
It said that the application should be heard at the earliest in the interests of justice so that the long standing dispute could be resolved.