In my leader page article on June 4, 2007, I had expressed some doubts regarding the simultaneous submission of petitions by the parties to the Cauvery Tribunal and the Supreme Court. Those doubts have been borne out by events. It is reported that the Tribunal has refused to hear the petitions of the State and Central Governments at this stage as the parties have gone to the Supreme Court challenging the Final Order itself.

The Tribunal’s position is understandable. When it is not clear whether the Supreme Court is going to uphold the Final Order or overturn or modify it, how can the Tribunal hear clarificatory petitions and issue further orders? At the same time, the ISWD Act requires the Tribunal to deal with such petitions and issue orders. What this means is that the Supreme Court, by admitting the SLPs, has not only made an unexamined and unargued assumption of jurisdiction, but has also made it very difficult if not impossible for the Tribunal to function. Quis custodiet ipsos custodes (Who shall guard the guards)?

Ramaswamy R. Iyer,
New Delhi