The two states have been sparring over water

Fali S Nariman declines to argue in SC but will continue to represent Karnataka
news Cauvery Dispute Friday, September 30, 2016 - 18:10

Senior counsel Fali S Nariman, who represents Karnataka in the Cauvery dispute, declined to argue in Supreme Court, but placed a note before the court.

In the hearing on Friday, the Supreme Court pulled up Karnataka for not complying with its orders pronounced on Tuesday and directed it to release 6,000 cusecs of water from October 1-6.

According to a Hindustan Times report, the Court said: “Karnataka is flouting order and creating situation in which majesty of law is dented,” the SC said.

The bench of Justice Dipak Misra and Justice Uday Umesh Lalit expressed its displeasure over the continued defiance of its last three orders by the Siddaramaiah's government in Karnataka.

During the proceedings, senior counsel Fali S Nariman declined to argue before the court. Supreme Court lawyer Mohan V Kataraki, who is part of the legal team which represents Karnataka in the Cauvery dispute, clarified the proceedings in the SC to The News Minute. He said that “Fali S Nariman and the legal team will continue to appear in SC and defend the State”.

He explained that Nariman produced a letter in court, which he had written to the Chief Minister. “Fali S Nariman clarifies that State must obey the order and he and the legal team - as officers of the court cannot defend the act of disobedience based on political decision as stated by CM in his letter.

In its order on Tuesday, the Supreme Court directed the centre to constitute the Cauvery Water Management Board within four weeks. However, on Friday, the court directed the Centre to set up the Board by October 4. It also directed the four states – Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Pondicherry – to furnish names to be appointed as members to the Board.

The court said that soon after it is set up, the CMB would visit the spot for an assessment of the ground situation and report back to it.

Telling Karnataka government that it was its "last chance" to fall in line, the bench said: "We are granting this opportunity as a last chance. We are passing this order despite assembly resolution," which practically said no release of water to Tamil Nadu.

"The State of Karnataka should not be bent upon maintaining a stand of defiance, where the wrath of law fall on them," it said in its order.

Though without saying so, the court left nothing to doubt that Karnataka was inching towards troubles, Justice Mishra told senior counsel Shekhar Naphade, appearing for Tamil Nadu, that they "understand your anguish". 

Naphade had told the court that: "We are not saying anything. We have been shabbily treated. There is nothing that the State of Tamil Nadu wants to place before the court. We are not saying anything."

At this Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi said: "I think the court is doing its best. We must appreciate it."

At the outset of the hearing, Rohatgi apprised the court of the meeting that Union Water Resources Minister Uma Bhatrti had with Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah and Tamil Nadu's PWD Minister Edappadi K. Palanisamy in pursuance to the court's September 27 order to convene the meeting of the Chief Ministers to break the impasse.

He said at the end, the "the ball is back in the court" as during the meeting, Karnataka expressed its helplessness in releasing the water citing its problem of drinking water and standing crops, while Tamil Nadu stuck to its position that Karnataka had to fall in line and comply with the court's order on releasing Cauvery water. 

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