Hours after Karnataka moved the Supreme Court for an urgent hearing on its plea to modify the court’s order on the release of Cauvery water to Tamil Nadu, Rajya Sabha MP Rajeev Chandrasekhar hit out at the Siddaramaiah-led government for messing up the state’s legal strategy in the case.
His comments come days after Chief Minister Siddaramaiah claimed that senior counsel Fari Nariman had not consulted the government before informing the Supreme Court, last week, of Karnataka’s offer to release 10000 cusecs of water as a goodwill gesture to Tamil Nadu.
Placing the blame upon the state government, Chandrasekhar told The News Minute, “I believe the legal strategy has been botched up,” noting that it is the client who decides what it wants. In this case, the Independent MP said, “Somebody in the government has offered 10,000 cusecs of water.”
While sections are demanding that Fali Nariman be sacked for letting down the state, Chandrasekhar argued, “It is not the lawyer who is accountable, but it is Karnataka.”
Holding the senior advocate in high esteem, he said that Nariman, who has been Karnataka’s legal counsel in the case for 32 years, is one of the brightest legal minds in the country.
He also dismissed allegations of “conflict of interest”, with Nariman having represented and obtained bail for Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa in the disproportionate assets case in 2014.
The MP also pointed out that the Karnataka government had also “legally messed up” the Mahadayi water dispute after filing an interim plea before the Tribunal in July, despite the legal team advising against doing so.
Observing that the government’s legal strategy is “reactive” rather than a strategic long-term plan, Chandrasekhar said, “The government should have taken the farmers into confidence. They should have given crop insurance last year. The government should have looked at alternative drinking water schemes.”
He noted that the underlying problems such as sustainable irrigation for farmers and drinking water for Bengaluru remain unaddressed.