Chief Justice Dipak Misra also reportedly asked the people of Karnataka and Tamil Nadu to maintain peace till the SC “puts its final stamp on the scheme”.

No escaping this task SC slams Centre asks it to frame draft Cauvery scheme by May 3
news Cauvery Dispute Monday, April 09, 2018 - 13:34

The Supreme Court on Monday heard the contempt petition filed by the Tamil Nadu government against Union Cabinet Secretary PK Sinha and Water Resources Secretary UP Singh for not setting up the Cauvery Management Board.

The apex court pulled up the Centre for not framing a scheme by the stipulated March 29 deadline. It ordered the Centre to frame a draft scheme by May 3, which is the day the court will hear the matter next. The court repeatedly rebuked the Centre for not complying with the deadline and told Tamil Nadu that it agrees with the state’s grievances.

“You have to frame the scheme and there is no escaping this task,” the court reportedly told the Centre, and told the Centre that they had passed the order with difficulty.

To this, Tamil Nadu replied that anyone who understands elementary English understood what the Cauvery verdict said, but the Centre did not.

Chief Justice Dipak Misra also reportedly asked the people of Karnataka and Tamil Nadu to maintain peace, and asked authorities to ensure no untowards incidents happen in the states till the time the SC “puts its final stamp on the scheme”.

Background

On February 16, the Supreme Court awarded its final verdict on the Cauvery water-sharing dispute, where it reduced Tamil Nadu’s share to 177.25 tmc ft from 192 tmc ft, while increasing the water allotted to Karnataka by 14.75 tmc ft. The top court had directed the Centre to frame a scheme within 6 weeks of the verdict. The deadline expired on March 29.

Two days later, the TN government filed a contempt of court petition against the Centre for not complying with the Supreme Court’s orders. The Centre, in turn, sought clarification from the apex court with regard to framing the scheme.

But, the use of the word ‘scheme’ has left room open 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 Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal order. The Board will be an independent body which will regulate the flow of Cauvery water released to the states.

TN argued that formation of this Board is crucial as the state pointed out that Karnataka has, in the past, declined to release the entire quantum of water.

Karnataka, on the other hand, argued that the word ‘Board’ is not there in the verdict and has suggested alternatives to the CMB. Karnataka does not want the board to be set up as the state would then 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 from the court to frame a scheme. The Centre argued 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, the Centre said.

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