Case BriefsSupreme Court

Supreme Court: In the Cauvery Water Dispute where the issue relating to referring the matter to the Tribunal was concerned, the 3-judge bench of Dipak Misra, Amitava Roy and A.M. Khanwilkar, JJ said that once a water dispute, as defined under Article 262(1) read with provisions of the Inter-State River Water Disputes Act, 1956 is adjudicated by the tribunal, it loses the nature of dispute. A person aggrieved can always have his remedy invoking the jurisdiction under Article 136 of the Constitution of India. The Court, hence, held that the contention of the Union of India with regard to the maintainability of the appeal by special leave under Article 136 of the Constitution of India stands repelled.

The Court explained that the Section 11 of the 1956 Act bars the jurisdiction of the courts and needless to say, that is in consonance with the language employed in Article 262 of the Constitution. The Founding Fathers had not conferred the power on this Court to entertain an original suit or complaint and that is luminescent from the language employed in Article 131 of the Constitution and from the series of pronouncements of this Court. It was held that Section 6 of 1956 Act cannot be interpreted in an absolute mechanical manner and the words “same force as on order or decision” cannot be treated as a decree for the purpose for excluding the jurisdiction of this Court. The language employed in Section 6(2) of 1956 Act suggests that the decision of the tribunal shall have the same force as the order or decree of this Court. There is a distinction between having the same force as an order or decree of this Court and passing of a decree by this Court after due adjudication. The Parliament has intentionally used the words from which it can be construed that a legal fiction is meant to serve the purpose for which the fiction has been created and not intended to travel beyond it. The purpose is to have the binding effect of the tribunal’s award and the effectiveness of enforceability. Thus, it has to be narrowly construed regard being had to the purpose it is meant to serve.

Stating that a provision should not be interpreted to give a different colour which has a technical design rather than serving the object of the legislation, the Court said that the exposition of the principles of law relating to fiction, the intendment of the legislature and the ultimate purpose and effect of the provision called for repelling the submissions raised on behalf of the Union of India that Section 6(2) bars the jurisdiction conferred on this Court under Article 136. [State of Karnataka v. State of Tamil Nadu, 2016 SCC OnLine SC 1450, decided on 09.12.2016]

Case BriefsSupreme Court

Supreme Court: The Court directed the State of Karnataka to release 6000 cusecs of water from tomorrow i.e. 28.09.2016 till the next date of hearing i.e. 30.09.2016 and said that the State of Karnataka shall obey the order without any kind of impediment, obstruction or any other attitude till the next date of hearing. Needless to say, the water that has been released will be adjusted in the eventual adjudication.

Fali S. Nariman, appearing on behalf of the State of Karnataka had submitted that there will be difficulty on the part of the State of Karnataka because of the resolution passed by the State to use the Cauvery water for drinking purpose only and not to release the water to the State of Tamil Nadu. The bench of Dipak Misra and U.U. Lalit, JJ, however, said that the direction for release of water has been passed for the coming three days despite the resolution passed.

The Court had asked Mukul Rohatgi, the Attorney General for India what could be the possible solution for the situation and said that the same is being done not because this Court cannot adjudicate or pass appropriate orders in accordance with law to maintain and sustain the rule of law and majesty of law which are elan vital of our constitutional law, but prior to that it would be appropriate if there is a  discussion regard being had to the conceptual federalism prevalent in our democratic body polity. Mukul Rohatgi submitted that the Union of India is prepared to facilitate so that the impasse between the two States can appositely melt. Both the States expressed their consent to it. [State of Karnataka v. State of Tamil Nadu, I.A. NO.12/2016 IN I.A. NO.10 in Civil Appeal No.2456/2007, decided on 27.09.2016]

Case BriefsSupreme Court

Supreme Court: As an interim measure, regard being had to the subsequent developments and the problems that have been highlighted by Fali S. Nariman in the State of Karnataka, the Court directed the State of Karnataka to release 6000 cusecs of water from today till the next date of hearing i.e. 27.09.2016. The Court had initially, on 05.09.2016 directed the release of 15000 cusecs of water and had later modified the said order on 12.09.2016 and directed the release of 12, 000 cusecs of water by the State of Karnataka.

The bench of Dipak Misra and U.U. Lalit, JJ noticed that the Cauvery Water Dispute Tribunal had fixed 192 TMC for normal year in favour of the State of Tamil Nadu and the Tribunal has also carved out monthly allocation from the month of June to May, which is called the “water year”. However, it was contended by the Counsel appearing for the State of Karnataka that is not a normal year and, therefore, there has to be adjustment in monthly allocation and If there is a deficit year and not a normal year, the yearly allocation has to reduce proportionally. He further contended that when the State of Karnataka is in a great misery as far as the supply of water is concerned, it is not possible to release any water in favour of the State of Tamil Nadu and that the State of Karnataka has to part with drinking water if it is compelled to supply the water to the State of Tamil Nadu.

Shekhar Naphade, the counsel for the State of Karnataka contended that the monthly allocation by the Tribunal is rational, inasmuch as it has taken into consideration various crops that are grown in the State of Tamil Nadu and seasonal requirement. He also submitted that both the States have to embrace the principle of adjustment in deficit year. He, however, said that the Tribunal has not really referred to the decision pertaining to drinking water for 2/3rd of the City of Bengaluru are covered by the water basin.

Considering the aforesaid contentions, the Court directed the Union of India to constitute the Cauvery Management Board within four weeks hence, regard being had to the directions by the Tribunal. The Union of India shall produce after four weeks the notification indicating that the Cauvery Management Board has been constituted so that, if required, appropriate directions can be issued to the Board. [State of Karnataka v. State of Tamil Nadu, 2016 SCC OnLine SC 962, decided on 20.09.2016]

 

Case BriefsSupreme Court

Supreme Court: In the light of the violence in the States of Tamil Nadu and Karnataka because of an order passed by this Court on 12.09.2016, the Court directed that the guidelines issued in Destruction of Public and Private Properties In Re v. State of Andhra Pradesh (2009) 5 SCC 212, are to be complied with.

The bench of Dipak Misra and U.U. Lalit, JJ said that neither any “bandh” nor any agitation can take place when court has passed an order. It is to be complied with and, in any case, if there is difficulty, the concerned parties can approach the court. The people cannot become law unto themselves and, therefore, it is obligatory on the part of the authorities of both the States, namely, the State of Karnataka and the State of Tamil Nadu to prevent such actions.

The Court asked the Advocate-on-Record for the petitioner to serve a copy of this petition on the Standing Counsel for both the States and listed the matter along with the civil appeal relating to the disputes between the parties which is to be taken up on 20.09.2016.

By the order dated 12.09.2016, the Court had modified it’s earlier order dated 05.09.2016 directing the release of 15,000 cusecs of water by the State of Karnataka and had asked the State of Karnataka to release 12, 000 cusecs till 20.09.2016. The court had taken up the matter urgently due to the spontaneous agitations in the various parts of Karnataka in the Cauvery basis which has paralysed the normal life besides destroying the public and private properties. [P. Sivakumar v. Secretary, Ministry of Home, Govt. of Karnataka, 2016 SCC OnLine SC 942, decided on 15.09.2016]