The top court as now adjourned the hearing to May 14, and has asked the Centre to submit a draft scheme on the same day without fail.

Sheer contempt SC slams Centre for not implementing its orders in the Cauvery Board
news Cauvery Dispute Tuesday, May 08, 2018 - 14:04

The Supreme Court slammed the Centre on Tuesday, saying that the fact it had not yet framed the scheme to distribute water between Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Kerala and Puducherry was in “sheer contempt” of the order it passed earlier this year.

The top court has now adjourned the hearing to May 14, and has asked the Centre to submit a draft scheme on the same day without fail. It also asked the Water Resources Department Secretary to appear before court and explain the scheme.

However, the court did not mention the 4 TMC ft of water to be released to TN.

The Centre was expected to file a detailed report on the steps it has taken to comply with the judgement in the Cauvery dispute between Karnataka and Tamil Nadu. Instead, it asked for more time until the Karnataka polls end.

On May 3, a three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra asked Karnataka to look into the quantum of water to be released to Tamil Nadu.

In response, the Karnataka government on Monday filed an affidavit before the Supreme Court which stated that despite scanty rainfall, Karnataka had released an increased amount of 116.7 tmcft of water as opposed to the required 100.4 tmcft. Thus, it stated, no more water needed to be released to Tamil Nadu.

Karnataka also said that in the dry season, it was required to release not more than 1.24 tmcft and 1.22 tmcft of water in March and April respectively.

Furthermore, Karnataka said that the Tamil Nadu government had taken 719 cusecs of water for its drinking water purposes.

Stating that Tamil Nadu's water needs until May 30 only amount to 3.60 tmcft of water, Karnataka said it had released more than the required share of water.

In response, the Tamil Nadu government also filed an affidavit before the Supreme Court, which said that of the 9 tmcft water available in its dams, only 4.5 tmcft was usable and sought the release of 4 tmcft more.

It also asked the SC to direct the Centre to form the implementation authority with immediate effect.

Tamil Nadu interprets the use of the word ‘scheme’ in the SC judgement as the Cauvery Management Board (CMB). Karnataka, on the other hand, argued that the word ‘Board’ is not there in the verdict and suggested alternatives to the CMB.

A Supreme Court judgement on February 16 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 within six weeks to implement the order.

Even as the six-week deadline to form the authority expired on March 29, the Centre sought a three-month extension. On May 3, after missing the second deadline, Attorney-General of India KK Venugopal informed the Supreme Court that "Prime Minister Narendra Modi and other central ministers were busy campaigning for the Karnataka assembly elections" and hence the scheme could not be vetted by the Cabinet of Ministers.

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