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Supreme Court: The 3-Judge Bench of Dipak Misra, CJ and AM Khanwilkar and Dr. DY Chandrachud, JJ directed Centre to apprise it about steps taken for setting up of the Cauvery Management Board for implementation of its judgement on distribution of river water among Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Kerala and Puducherry.

Attorney General KK Venugopal asked the Court to hear the matter a day after the Karnataka polls on the ground that the draft scheme has to be put before the Union Cabinet for approval. The Court had asked Centre to frame and file a draft Cauvery management scheme by May 3, 2018.

Senior Advocate Shekhar Naphade, appearing for the State of Tamil Nadu, took strong exception to the submission and said:

 “This is the end of co-operative federalism and the rule of law in the country. This is the partisan attitude of the union of India to favour Karnataka.”

The Court initially asked the Karnataka government to release four TMC of Cauvery water to Tamil Nadu by May 8, but later directed the state to apprise it “as to how much water can be released”. It said once the Centre places the draft scheme, which would also include Cauvery Water Management Board and Monitoring Authority, it would consider the grievances of all the stakeholder States. Earlier the Court had asked the Tamil Nadu and Karnataka governments to ensure that peace prevails till it finalises the Cauvery management scheme for implementation of its judgment on water distribution.

Source: PTI

Case BriefsSupreme Court

Supreme Court: Deciding the Cauvery Water Dispute that reportedly travels beyond 100 years, the bench of Dipak Misra, CJ and Amitava Roy and AM Khanwilkar, JJ awarded to the State of Karnataka an additional 14.75 TMC of water, i.e., 10 TMC, on account of availability of ground water in Tamil Nadu + 4.75 TMC, for drinking and domestic purposes including such need for the whole city of Bengaluru. Hence, in view of the allocation of additional 14.75 TMC of water to Karnataka, the State of Karnataka would now be required to release 177.25 TMC of water at the inter-state border with Tamil Nadu. The Cauvery Water Dispute Tribunal had, by award dated 05.02.2007, directed the State of Karnataka to release 205 TMC of water to the State of Tamil Nadu.

The Court noticed that the Tribunal had drastically reduced the share of Karnataka towards Domestic and Industrial purpose for the reason being that only 1/3rd of the city of Bangaluru falls within the river basin and also on the presumption that 50% of the drinking water requirement would be met from ground water supply. Holding that the said view taken by the Tribunal ignores the basic principle pertaining to drinking water and is, thus unsustainable, the Court said:

“Drinking water requirement of the overall population of all the States has to be placed on a higher pedestal as we treat it as a hierarchically fundamental principle of equitable distribution.”

In a 465-page detailed judgment, the Bench took note of the fact that around 20 TMC of groundwater is available beneath the surface in Tamil Nadu which the Tribunal has not taken into account citing it as a conjecture. Hence, while keeping in mind the risks associated with over extraction of underground water, the Court said that 10 TMC of the said available groundwater in Tamil Nadu can, in the facts and circumstances of the present case, be accounted for in the final determination of its share.

The Court, however, refused to interfere with the allocation of water in favour of the State of Kerala and the Union Territory of Puducherry.

Stressing upon the importance of the matter, the Court said:

“in view of the acute scarcity of the water resources and the intensely contested claims of the States, it is expected that the allocations hereby made would be utilized for the purposes earmarked and accepted and no deviancy is shown in carrying out the verdict of this Court.”

[State of Karnataka v. State of Tamil Nadu, 2018 SCC OnLine SC 135, decided on 16.02.2018]

Case BriefsSupreme Court

Supreme Court: With regard to the constitution of the “Cauvery Management Board”, the Court directed the States of Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, and Kerala and the Union Territory of Puducherry to nominate their respective representatives as per the final order passed by the Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal on or before 4.00 p.m. tomorrow i.e. 01.10.2016. The Court also directed that the Board should submit a report on ground reality of the situation.

Coming down heavily upon the State of Karnataka, the Court said that all authorities in the territory of India are bound to act in aid of the Supreme Court and also, if required, render assistance and aid for implementation of the order/s of this Court, but, unfortunately, the State of Karnataka is flouting the order and, in fact, creating a situation where the majesty of law is dented. The Bench of Dipak Misra and U.U. Lalit, JJ said that they would have proceeded to have taken steps for strict compliance of the order, but will refrain to do so as they are directing the Cauvery Management Board to study the ground reality.

The Court directed the State of Karnataka to release 6000 cusecs of water despite the resolution passed by the Joint Houses of State Legislature of the State of Karnataka from 01.10.2016 to 06.10.2016 i.e. the next date of hearing. The Court said that it is granting this opportunity as the last chance and that the State of Karnataka, being a part of the federal structure of this country, should rise to the occasion and should not bent upon maintaining an obstinate stand of defiance, for one knows not when the wrath of law shall fall on one. [State of Tamil Nadu v. State of Karnataka, 2016 SCC OnLine SC 1055 , decided on 30.09.2016]

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 matter relating to the Cauvery Water Disputes, the bench of Dipak Misra and Uday U. Lalit, JJ gave the below mentioned directions:

(a) The State of Tamil Nadu, shall approach the Supervisory Committee within three days from the date of this order and the response, if any, by the State of Karnataka be filed within three days therefrom.

(b) The Supervisory Committee shall pass appropriate direction in this regard within four days from the date of filing of the reference keeping in view the language employed in the final order of the Tribunal. Be it clarified, the Supervisory Committee is bound by the language used in the order passed by the Tribunal.

(c) As far as the sustenance of the crops and interest of the farmers in the State of Tamil Nadu is concerned, instead of 10,000¹ cusecs of water per day, 15,000¹ cusecs of water per day be released at Biligundulu by the State of Karnataka for ten days.

(d) The State of Tamil Nadu is also directed to release water proportionately to the Union Territory of Puducherry.

It was alleged by the State of Tamil Nadu that the State of Karnataka has not been complying with the directions given by the Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal in the final order and there has been flagrant violation of the same. It was also urged that if the water is not released by the State of Karnataka, the ‘samba’ crops will be absolutely damaged, which will lead to an unacceptable plight to be faced by the farmers of the State of Tamil Nadu. [State of Tamil Nadu v. State of Karnataka, 2016 SCC OnLine SC 902, order dated 05.09.2016]

¹Order dated 05.09.2016 corrected vide State of T.N. v. State of Karnataka, I.A. No.10 of 2016 in Civil Appeal No.2456 of 2007 decided on 06.09.2016