SC tells Karnataka to release 2,000 cusecs to TN daily

New Delhi, Jan 4 (IANS) The Supreme Court on Wednesday directed Karnataka to continue to release 2,000 cusecs of water to Tamil Nadu till it decided on the batch of petitions challenging the Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal award.

The bench of Justice Dipak Misra, Justice Amitava Roy and Justice A.M.Khanwilkar said that the hearing on cross petitions challenging the award would commence from February 7.

Noting that the hearing on the petitions by Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Kerala would take place on day to day basis, Justice Misra said that he did not favour remanding the matter back to the tribunal, which is not working but has not been folded up.

“As a concept I am against remand (sending back the matter). The shuttle cocking of an idea is dangerous,” he observed.

The Tribunal award had come on February 5, 2007 and it was gazetted by the central government on February 19, 2013. Besides deciding on the sharing of water, it had recommended setting up of a Cauvery Management Board and the Cauvery Water Regulation Committee.

The court order for day to day hearing came as senior counsel Fali Nariman appearing for Karnataka told the court that if it holds hearing for two hours every day in the post lunch session, then it would require three weeks to conclude it.

The court asked all the three states to file written notes on their preliminary submissions on February 7 for it to understand the issues.

The court was lukewarm to Tamil Nadu’s suggestion that it should first hear its plea on the setting up of the Cauvery Management Board saying that all the issues would be addressed in one go.

Urging the court to hear and decide the setting up of the CMB as a first issue, senior counsel Shekhar Naphade, appearing for Tamil Nadu, said that “Cauvery river is perennial and I don’t want litigation too be perennial… it has already taken seven years”.

As Justice Misra observed: “I don’t think that this court has ever decided appeals of this nature”, Naphade said: “This Act (Inter-state River Water Disputes Act, 1956) is a skeleton piece of legislation, the flesh and blood will be put by the court’s judgment.”

The bench expressed its “greatest doubt” if riparian states could be told as to how to utilise the water being released to them from Cauvery. It expressed its reservation after Kerala told that award prohibits it from taking its share of Cauvery water from Cauvery basin to another basin.

–IANS

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