The Supreme Court on Tuesday agreed to hear, on April 9, the Centre’s plea to extend the deadline for framing a scheme to implement its February 16 judgment in the Cauvery water dispute.
Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra said the Centre’s application would be heard along with a contempt petition filed by Tamil Nadu.
Tamil Nadu has accused the Centre of not “protecting the interests of the farmers and the larger interests of the State”. The February 16 judgment in the Cauvery appeals had directed the Centre to frame the scheme in six weeks.
The deadline ended on March 29. On the eve of the deadline, the Centre had moved the Supreme Court for a three-month extension for implementation of the judgment as Assembly elections were scheduled for May 12 in Karnataka.
The Centre has also sought clarification on certain points in the judgment.
In its application, the Centre asked the court to clarify if it was open to framing a scheme “at variance” with the tribunal’s recommendations.
For one, it wanted to know whether a Cauvery Management Board (CMB) could have an assemblage of administrative and technical expertise rather than be a purely technical body as envisaged by the Cauvery Tribunal in 2007.
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 Supreme court has clearly banned any extension of time to the Centre for framing the scheme.