Leaves it to States to seek appropriate remedy before CRA

The Supreme Court on Monday refused to go into the validity or otherwise of the order passed by the Cauvery Monitoring Committee on December 7 and left it open to the States of Tamil Nadu and Karnataka to seek appropriate remedy before the Cauvery River Authority, headed by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

A Bench of Justices D.K. Jain and Madan B. Lokur was hearing an application from Tamil Nadu seeking release of 30 tmcft of water for December.

Justice Mr. Jain told senior counsel C.S. Vaidyanathan, appearing for Tamil Nadu, that “if the CMC in its wisdom had passed an order, how can we go into the correctness of the order. If in their wisdom they had passed some orders with the expertise at their command, we should not be saying they don’t know how to compute at all. They are all senior secretary level officers.”

When Mr. Vaidyanathan said “the CMC order is ex-facie incorrect, Justice Mr. Jain observed “you may say so, we can’t comment at all about the correctness of the order.”

Senior counsel Fali Nariman and Anil Divan, appearing for Karnataka, intervened and told the court that “we are also dissatisfied with the CMC order.” Mr. Divan said “if they [Tamil Nadu] are dissatisfied let them approach the CRA, which is the proper forum.”

When Mr. Vaidyanathan told the court that CMC was accountable to the court for passing such a wrong order, Justice Mr. Jain told the counsel “we are sorry, tomorrow you may have grievance against CRA also. If you are aggrieved with the CMC order you find your legally permissible remedy. We are not saying anything.”

Mr. Vaidyanathan requested the Bench to direct Karnataka to release 12 tmcft of water as directed by the CMC immediately, but the Bench declined to pass any order to this effect following stiff resistance from Karnataka counsel.

In a brief order, the Bench while placing on record the CMC order said “it seems that both the States are not satisfied with the directions issued by the CMC.” The Bench said “without commenting on the said report at this juncture we leave it to the parties to work out their remedy in accordance with law.” The Bench recorded the submissions of Mr. Divan that subject to filing appropriate remedy before the CRA, Karnataka would comply with the directions of the CMC on the release of water to Tamil Nadu for the month of December.

Earlier Additional Solicitor General Harin Raval informed the Bench that the government had decided to notify the final decision of the Cauvery Water disputes Tribunal given on February 5, 2007. He said the matter had now gone to the Ministry of Law and it would be notified soon.

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