Cauvery Water Dispute Verdict: Supreme Court Issues Directives

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Facts

The Supreme Court on 2nd April asked the Centre to formulate and file the draft Cauvery management scheme before it by May 3 and directed the authorities of Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and other stakeholders to ensure peace in the meantime.

Political leaders have bemoaned the Supreme Court’s latest directive on the Cauvery issue, fearing it could pave the way for the further delay in Tamil Nadu getting its due share of Cauvery water

Bench

A bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra said it had considered the award of Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal (CWDT) while deciding the water share for Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Kerala and Puducherry in its judgment.

The bench said that its judgment has to be complied with by all the stakeholders.

The court said the authorities are required to ensure peace till it peruses the draft scheme and finalises it for proper distribution of Cauvery water.

“The apex court’s proposal for a draft scheme would only delay the process further. If the court was in agreement with the final verdict of the Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal, save for the quantum of water for each State, then where was the need for a separate scheme and a draft [of the scheme], when the Cauvery Management Board had already been spelt out? The ruling is not fair and is contradictory. Our united struggle would continue,” CPI (M) State secretary K. Balakrishnan told The Hindu.

Judgement

The apex court, in its verdict, had asked the Centre to formulate a scheme to ensure compliance of its 465-page judgment on the decades-old Cauvery dispute. It had modified the CWDT award of 2007 and made it clear that it will not be extending time for this on any ground.

The top court had on February 16 raised the 270 tmcft share of Cauvery water for Karnataka by 14.75 tmcft and reduced Tamil Nadu’s share, while compensating it by allowing extraction of 10 tmcft groundwater from the river basin, saying the issue of drinking water has to be placed on a “higher pedestal”.

CPI State secretary R. Mutharasan said the SC had only facilitated the Central government’s intention to delay the implementation of the final verdict of the Cauvery tribunal.

On a positive note, S. Ranganathan, general secretary of the Cauvery Delta Farmers’ Welfare Association, said, “We are extremely glad about the Supreme Court’s directive and its refusal to grant the Centre’s request for an extension of time. The court has also made it clear that its order is based on the Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal’s final award, which has been merged with the decree.”

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