The apex court also ordered the Karnataka government to release 4 TMC of water to Tamil Nadu or face consequences.

Centre says no time to draft Cauvery scheme SC says file affidavit by May 8
news Cauvery Management board Thursday, May 03, 2018 - 12:44

The Supreme Court on Thursday directed the Centre to file an affidavit by May 8 stating the steps its taken to frame a scheme to ensure Cauvery waters is released. This after the Attorney General KK Venugopal informed the bench led by the Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra that the Centre did not have time to frame the draft scheme by May 3 – the apex court’s deadline – as Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his ministers were traveling on account of the Karnataka Assembly Elections.  

Seeking more time to frame the scheme, the Centre urged the top court to grant it time until after the Karnataka Assembly Elections, which is scheduled for May 12.

Accusing the Centre of playing politics over the Cauvery issue, Tamil Nadu’s counsel Shekhar Naphade informed the court that such attitude towards the state would amount to the end of federalism in the country as well as the rule of law.

“What do we tell the people of Tamil Nadu as no scheme has been framed even two months after the Supreme Court judgement,” stated Tamil Nadu’s counsel.

On hearing arguments made by both sides, the Supreme has said that political reasons cannot be accepted for delay in formation of scheme.

The apex court also ordered the Karnataka government to release 4 TMC of water to Tamil Nadu immediately or face consequences.

According to Tamil Nadu Law Minister CVe Shanmugam who was present at court, the Centre's counsel said that the scheme is ready but not finalised because the Prime Minister and other ministers are busy with the Karnataka elections. 

"The Tamil Nadu government has heavily opposed this argument and stated in court that the scheme is being delayed with the Karnataka election in mind. We demanded that four TMC of water be released as per what the Supreme court had earlier said. In view of summer season, Karnataka has to release two TMC of water for April and two TMC of water for May," he told the media. 

This delay on the part of the Centre comes despite being reprimanded by the Supreme Court in April for not having complied with its February 16 verdict in the Cauvery river water dispute. The SC had directed the Centre to file a draft scheme before the court by May 3. 

Chief Justice Dipak Mishra had already admonished the Centre last month and said, “Our directions were clear that the scheme was to come into existence within 6 weeks of the judgment…we are surprised that it has not been done so far considering the struggle that ensued in this litigation…we have to assume a different kind of jurisdiction now…the Central government must show its bonafide that it wishes to frame the scheme and distribute the water…file a draft scheme before this court in a time bound manner so that the states can respond there to upon which it shall become binding."

The Tamil Nadu government had also filed a contempt plea against the Centre for not constituting the Cauvery Management Board (CMB) by March 29.

The petition was filed against the Union Cabinet Secretary PK Sinha and Water Resources Secy UP Singh. In its prayer to the Supreme Court, the Tamil Nadu government sought to, “initiate contempt of court proceedings against Respondents for wilful disobedience in carrying out the clear mandate set out in para 403 of the Judgement passed by this Hon’ble Court dated 16.02.2018 in C.A. No 2453 of 2007 and connected Appeals.”

The February 16 Supreme Court judgement had reduced TN’s share of Cauvery water from Karnataka from 192 TMC to 177.25 TMC but also directed the Centre to frame a scheme to implement the order. 

 

 

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