State may not attract contempt, say legal experts

The State government may not run into trouble for submitting before the Supreme Court that it is not in position to release Cauvery water to Tamil Nadu, as it is not wilful disobedience of a written order of the court, legal experts say.

Former Advocate General B V Acharya pointed out that contempt proceedings in the present case cannot be taken up if the Supreme Court had issued only oral instructions to the government to comply with the Cauvery River Authority (CRA) direction to release 9,000 cusecs per day to neighbouring Tamil Nadu till October 15.

“Besides, if there is extreme distress in the basin and it is beyond our control to release water, then it cannot be construed as contempt,” he said.

Senior counsel and former AG Uday Holla said, “It depends on the facts of the case. If there is no written order by the court to abide by the CRA direction, then yes, it cannot attract contempt proceedings,” he said.

‘Near to impossible’

Senior counsel Fali Nariman, appearing for Karnataka, on Monday told the Supreme Court that, “We will not be able to release anything more. It is physically impossible to release. There is already a surplus of about 13,000 cusecs.”

Former Speaker and BJP member of Parliament D B Chandre Gowda welcomed the stand of the government in the Supreme Court.

Govt stand hailed

“We are all with the government. Come what may, we will not release water to Tamil Nadu,” he said.  Gowda, on Sunday, had threatened to resign from his Lok Sabha seat if the government released water to Tamil Nadu from Monday.

BJP member of Legislative Council Ashwathanarayana said the party supported the stand of the government.

“We urge the prime minister to immediately convene a meeting of the CRA and resolve the dispute,” he said.

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