CJI promises TN will get Cauvery water

April 02, 2018 08:44 pm | Updated 08:44 pm IST - NEW DELHI

Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra on Monday orally assured Tamil Nadu that it will gets its due allocation of Cauvery water.

On an urgent mention by Tamil Nadu, a Bench led by Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra agreed to hear the plea by the State to initiate contempt proceedings against the Centre for “wilful disobedience” of the February 16 Cauvery judgment to frame a scheme for water allocation among Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Kerala and Puducherry.

Chief Justice Misra orally remarked that the term “scheme” used in the February 16 judgment does not mean the Cauvery Management Board (CMB) alone. Both counsel for Tamil Nadu and Karnataka, G. Umapathy and Mohan Katarki respectively later explained that the Chief Justice only meant that the court’s judgment, whatever be the nomenclature of the implementing authority, should be complied with stringently. The judgment has modified certain parts of the Cauvery Tribunal's final award of 2007.

The court has scheduled the case for hearing for April 9.

Tamil Nadu has accused the Centre of refusing to act to “protect the interests of the farmers and the larger interests of the State” by not framing a scheme. As per the February 16 judgment in the Cauvery appeals, the Centre had to frame the scheme in six weeks. The deadline had ended on March 29.

On the eve of the deadline, the Centre too had moved the Supreme Court for a three-month extension for implementation of the judgment as Assembly elections are scheduled for May 12 in Karnataka.

The Centre has also sought clarification on certain points in the February 16 judgment. In its application, the Centre asked the apex court to clarify whether it was open to it to frame a scheme “at variance” with the tribunal’s recommendations. For one, it wanted to know whether a CMB can have a mixture of administrative and technical expertise rather than the purely technical body envisaged by the tribunal.

Secondly, the Centre asked whether it could accord the CMB with functions different from those recommended by the tribunal.

Finally, the Centre has asked the Supreme Court for its opinion on the framing of the scheme under Section 6A of the Inter-State River Water Disputes Act of 1956, considering the divergent views expressed between Tamil Nadu and Karnataka. Tamil Nadu wants the CMB as per the 2007 tribunal order, while Karnataka wants a two-layer scheme, one headed by a committee led by the Union Water Resources Secretary.

Tamil Nadu, which filed the contempt petition, reminded that the apex court has clearly banned any extension of time to the Centre for framing the scheme. eom

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