With the Central government not coming out with a scheme on the Cauvery issue within the six-week period stipulated by the Supreme Court — which ended on Thursday — the Tamil Nadu government has decided to approach the court with a contempt petition.
This was decided at a meeting chaired by Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami with senior Ministers and officials at the Secretariat on Thursday. Advocate General Vijay Narayan was also present at the meeting, which lasted 40 minutes.
The petition is likely to be filed on Saturday, and Principal Secretary (Public Works) S.K. Prabakar will visit New Delhi, along with chairperson of the Cauvery Technical Cell R. Subramanian, according to a government source.
On February 16, delivering its judgment, the Supreme Court set a deadline of six weeks for the Centre to frame a scheme for the implementation of the final award of the Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal (CWDT) given in February 2007.
The court, while dealing with appeals filed by Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Kerala against the final award, had also stated that “no extension shall be granted for framing of the scheme on any ground.”
Explaining that there is no other option for the State government than to file the contempt of court petition, the source hoped that such a move would force the Centre to fulfil its legal obligation, as mandated by the court.
On reports of the Centre planning to seek clarification from the court with regard to the meaning of the term, “scheme,” as mentioned in the February 16 judgment, the source said there is no need for such a course as Section 6A of the Inter State River Water Disputes Act makes it clear how a scheme should be framed to implement decisions of a water disputes tribunal set up under the law.
In a nutshell, the section explicitly mentions that the proposed scheme may provide for “the establishment of any authority (whether described as such or as a committee or other body), composition, jurisdiction, powers and functions of the authority.”
Meanwhile, Tamil television channels reported an offer of resignation by three Members of Parliament of the ruling All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam – P. Kumar, A. Arunmozhithevan and G. Hari - over the issue.
Pointing out that he was not aware of their move, A. Anwhar Raajhaa who represents Ramanathapuram Parliamentary constituency told The Hindu that he would also follow suit in the event of any direction from the AIADMK leadership.