Panel of legal experts to advise State, farmers on river row

Panel of legal experts to advise  State, farmers on river row

Advocates Associations of Bangalore and Mysore on Tuesday set up a committee of legal experts to advise both the State government and the protesting farmers on the Cauvery river water-sharing dispute.

The committee comprises former advocate generals B V Acharya, Uday Holla, Ashok Harnahalli, senior advocates A K Subbaiah, Ravi Varma Kumar and some representatives of Bangalore and Mandya advocates’ associations. It will meet once a week, take stock of the situation and give necessary legal advice to those who have taken up legal fight in the Cauvery issue, G Made Gowda of the Cauvery Hitarakshana Samithi told reporters.

He was speaking after participating in a discussion programme on the Cauvery dispute organised by the Advocates Association of Bangalore.

“We have no hope in this coward government. So the Samithi has decided to put up a legal fight to find a permanent solution to this long-standing problem. All these days we simply staged protests. But from now on, we will fight the issue legally with the help of the committee,” he said.

As per the rule book, the award of a river water dispute tribunal is final. There is no provision for people to go on appeal against it. Only the government can appeal by way of a suit.

As the first step, the expert committee should take up this issue and enable the Cauvery basin farmers to initiate a legal fight against the final award of the Cauvery River Water Dispute Tribunal, Gowda said.

Steps should be taken to ensure that the final award of the tribunal is trashed. The Samithi has been exploring the possibility of putting up a separate legal fight in the Supreme Court in this regard. Assistance of the legal fraternity is important for farmers, he added.

He said the Samithi will continue its peaceful protest till October 12 when the CRA is likely to give its order on further release of water.

Earlier, Uday Holla said the government should provide all statistics on the availability and requirement of water for drinking purpose to the court. The Supreme Court has clearly said that drinking water is top priority.

Subbaiah said there was no clarity on what basis the government agreed to release 10,000 cusecs as goodwill gesture between September 12 and 19.

“There should be some basis for such a move. The goodwill gesture might have proved costly for the State,” he said.

Ashok Haranahalli said it is not possible for the farmers to file a separate petition challenging the final award of the tribunal. But the possibility of making farmers part of the proceedings can be explored, he said.

Ravi Varma Kumar said even 10 days after filing a review petition against its order, the CRA had not considered it. The government should take up the matter strongly before the Supreme Court, he said.

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