Parliamentary panel endorses key amendment in inter-state river water disputes bill

New Delhi: A parliamentary committee on Thursday endorsed an amendment to a bill which provides for setting up of a tribunal on inter-state river water disputes with finality of authority.

Representational image. Reuters

Representational image. Reuters

The Inter-State River Water Disputes (Amendment) Bill, 2017, introduced in the Parliament in March, seeks to set up a single, permanent tribunal to adjudicate all such disputes subsuming existing tribunals.

The parliamentary panel, under the chairmanship of lawmaker Hukum Singh, noted the amendment in the bill entails that the decision of the tribunal bench will be final and binding on the parties to the dispute.

It also noted that such decisions will have the same force as an order or a decree of the Supreme Court.

About the provision to deal with the situation where the states and union territories fail to abide by the award of the bench or tribunal, the panel said the ministry has informed that they can be persuaded to do so.

"Besides, the party states are expected to abide by the awards or else it amounts to a breakdown of the constitutional machinery and there are provisions in the Constitution to deal with such eventuality," the panel said in its report tabled in Parliament on Thursday.

It said the Constitution debars any other court to exercise jurisdiction in respect of any such dispute under the ISRWD Act, 1956.

However, the apex court has been exercising its jurisdiction under some articles of the Constitution for considering the matters related to awards given on inter-state river water dispute, it noted.

"The Committee, therefore, endorses this clause — which seeks giving finality to the award of the Tribunal so as to avoid the endless litigation on the disputes. However, the Committee would refrain from interpreting any Constitutional provision in this regard," it said.

Updated Date: Aug 10, 2017 22:59 PM

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