SC asks water resources secy to bring draft Cauvery management scheme; pulls up Centre for 'sheer contempt' of order

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Tuesday directed the Secretary of the Union Water Resources Ministry to personally appear before it on 14 May with a draft of the Cauvery management scheme for implementation of its verdict on water sharing between four states including Tamil Nadu and Karnataka.

File image of the Supreme Court of India. Reuters

File image of the Supreme Court of India. Reuters

The court also told the Centre that it was in "sheer contempt" of its direction on Cauvery water sharing for failing to frame a scheme for distribution of water between the southern riparian states of Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Kerala and Union Territory of Puducherry.

A bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra told the Centre that once the judgment has been delivered on the issue, it has to be implemented. "We do not want to come back to square one. Once the judgment has been delivered, it has to be implemented," the bench also comprising Justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud said.

Attorney General K K Venugopal said the Centre was seeking time in view of the fact that the Union Cabinet has not met due to the ongoing campaigning for the assembly polls in Karnataka. Senior advocate Shekhar Naphade, appearing for Tamil Nadu, opposed the plea and said "this is the fit case for contempt. Somebody has to be sent to jail". The bench then fixed the matter for further hearing in 14 May.

The apex court had earlier asked the Centre to formulate a scheme to ensure compliance with its judgement on the decades-old Cauvery dispute. It had modified the Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal (CWDT) award of 2007 and made it clear that it will not be extending the time for this on any ground.

The top court had on 16 February 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".


Updated Date: May 08, 2018 16:26 PM

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