CJI offers to send Andhra-Telangana Krishna water dispute for mediation

Chief Justice of India N.V. Ramana offered to send a water dispute case filed by Andhra Pradesh against Telangana for mediation   | Photo Credit: R.V. MOORTHY

Chief Justice of India N.V. Ramana on Monday offered to send a water dispute case filed by Andhra Pradesh against Telangana for mediation while saying, in the background of the Assam-Mizoram border flare-up, that the people of the two southern States were “brothers” and should not even “dream” of doing harm to each other.

The CJI’s remark came in response to an indirect allusion made by senior advocate Dushyant Dave, appearing for Andhra Pradesh, to the Assam-Mizoram violence. “Looking at what happened in the northeast...” Mr. Dave began.

Immediately interjecting at this point, Chief Justice Ramana said, “Do not think like that even in your dreams... We are all brothers”.

During the hearing, Chief Justice Ramana said he hailed from both Andhra Pradesh and Telangana. He could not adjudicate the case legally.

So, the CJI gave the parties an option. “If you want to settle the issue through mediation, I will send it for mediation. On the other hand, if you want the case to be adjudicated or to be heard legally, I will list it before another Bench,” Chief Justice Ramana addressed the parties.

Mr. Dave said the CJI’s suggestion was “eminently fair”. The senior lawyer said this was a “political issue” and sought time to get instructions from the State government.

The case concerned Andhra Pradesh’s petition accusing Telangana of depriving its people of their legitimate share of water for drinking and irrigation.

Andhra Pradesh said Telangana was refusing to follow decisions taken on river water management in the Apex Council constituted under the Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Act of 2014. It had also ignored the directions of Krishna River Management Board (KRMB) constituted under the 2014 Act and the Central government.

“Fundamental rights, including right to life of its citizens, are being seriously impaired and infringed on account of unconstitutional, illegal and unjust acts on part of State of Telangana and its officials, resulting in the citizens of the State of Andhra Pradesh being deprived of their legitimate share of water for drinking and irrigation purposes,” the petition said.

The petition also blamed the Centre for not notifying the exact jurisdiction of the KRMB.

Senior advocate C.S. Vaidyanathan, for Telangana, said the issue had become infructuous. The senior lawyer said the Centre already, on July 15, notified the Godavari and the Krishna river management boards in order to maintain neutrality. The Boards had been notified to ensure effective river water management between the two States.

The focus of the current petition is a Telangana government order of June 28, 2021, notifying that “to tap more hydel generation in the State, government has taken a decision to generate hydel power up to 100% installed capacity”.

The order directed Telangana State Power Generation Corporation Limited (TSGENCO) to hence “generate the hydel power up to 100% installed capacity in the State.”

Andhra said the notification was issued only days after the Ministry of Jal Shakti in its communication June 17 to Director (Hydel), TSGENCO urged the latter “to stop further release of water immediately through Srisailam Left Power House and follow the water release orders issued by KRMB, except in case of extreme grid urgency”.

“The Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh in this regard has written to the Prime Minister on July 1 and July 7, seeking his urgent intervention in view of serious threat to right to life of tens of millions of citizens of Andhra Pradesh,” the petition has noted.

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The story has been edited to corrected an an incorrect reference to the Assam-Manipur border violence. It was actually between Assam and Mizoram.

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Printable version | Sep 20, 2021 9:05:57 PM |

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