Amid protests breaking out across Tamil Nadu over the Centre’s failure to set up the Cauvery Management Board formation, the Chief Justice of India, Dipak Misra on Wednesday urged the state to maintain peace and calm.
“Please convey our message. Ask the people of TN to maintain peace and calm. We will take care of the Cauvery issue,” a report on NDTV quoted the CJI words to the TN lawyer who represents the matter in the Supreme Court.
Tamil Nadu’s contempt of court petition against the Centre will be taken up for hearing on April 9.
The CJI’s appeal for peace comes in the wake of widespread protests by farmers groups and political parties.
On Tuesday, the ruling AIADMK party led by Chief Minister Palanisamy, Deputy CM O Panneerselvam and other senior leaders went on a huger strike at Chepauk in Chennai to demand the setting up of the board. Several party cadres and supporters throughout the state observed a hunger strike.
Meanwhile, the opposition led by the DMK is all set to hold a state-wide bandh on April 5 (Thursday).
The Supreme Court had given its verdict on the Cauvery water sharing dispute on February 16, where it reduced Tamil Nadu’s share of water to 177.25 tmc ft, while increasing the water allotted to Karnataka by 14.75 tmc ft.
The top court has also directed the Centre to frame a scheme within 6 weeks of the verdict. The deadline lapsed on March 29.
On March 31, the TN government filed a contempt of court petition against the Centre for non-compliance of the Supreme Court’s orders. The Centre in turn has sought clarification from the apex court with regard to framing of a scheme.
It is the word scheme that has given room for interpretation.
Tamil Nadu interprets the use of the word “scheme” in the SC judgement as the setting up of the Cauvery Management Board (CMB), as recommended by the 2007 Tribunal order. The Board will be an independent body which will regulate the Cauvery water released to the States. To TN, formation of this board is crucial as the state has argued that Karnataka has, in the past, declined to release the entire quantum of water.
Karnataka, on the other hand, argues that there is no use of the word ‘Board’ in the verdict and suggests alternatives to the CMB. Karnataka does not want the setting up of the board as the state would have to give up control over its dams.
With Karnataka going to polls on May 12, the Centre has also sought a three-month extension to frame a scheme. The Centre argues that the Cauvery dispute is an emotive issue, which has caused law and order problems in the past. Notifying a scheme ahead of the polls would cause massive outrage and vitiate the election process, says the Centre.