Can't direct PM on water sharing, says SC

Tamil Nadu counsel said Ktaka was not releasing the volume of water stipulated by tribunal

 The Supreme Court on Monday said it cannot direct the Cauvery River Authority (CRA), headed by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, to decide on Tamil Nadu’s plea seeking direction to Karnataka to release Cauvery water.

“All the facts and figures are placed before the Prime Minister-headed high powered committee. We can’t direct Prime Minister to take a decision. Whatever the decision, it has to be taken by the committee only,” the apex court said.

However, a bench of justices D K Jain and Madan B Lokur told the Centre to file its response on Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalitha’s letter to CRA, seeking release of 25.373 tmcft (thousand million cubic feet) water from Cauvery river. Besides, it told the Karnataka government to respond to an application filed by Tamil Nadu in this regard within 10 days.

The apex court also pulled up the Centre for “not showing due concerns over the issue” as no senior counsel or additional solicitor general was present to represent the Centre.
“For you, this case is not of any consequence. Is this the concern? Don’t provoke us to observe something which is not palatable to the Union of India,” the bench told advocate Wasim A Quadri, representing the Centre.

K’taka violating order: TN

Appearing for Tamil Nadu, senior counsel C S Vaidyanathan, alleged that Karnataka was not releasing the volume of water stipulated by the tribunal, thus violating its order with impunity.

In response to the apex court observation that “Karnataka is an upper riparian state hit by deficient rain,” Vaidyanathan contended that “Karnataka has enough storage capacity.” He also claimed that the court had passed an order directing release of water earlier.

Senior advocate Anil Divan, appearing for Karnataka, said: “It is a very delicate issue. It is better that it is resolved politically.”

The apex court has posted the matter for hearing for September 3.
Tamil Nadu had sought that the Centre be directed to convene a meeting of CRA immediately to approve the distress sharing formula evolved by the Cauvery Monitoring Committee on water sharing.

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