TN files contempt plea in SC against Karnataka

Tamil Nadu on Wednesday approached the Supreme Court seeking contempt action against Karnataka Chief Minister Jagadish Shettar and six others for what it described as their “brazen, wilful and deliberate defiance” of the court orders by stopping the supply of Cauvery waters .

Besides the chief minister, action was sought against Water Resources Minister Basavaraj S Bommai, Chief Secretary S V Ranganath and others saying that the water  was halted at their instance.

Calling the action of Karnataka “inhuman and unconstitutional,” Tamil Nadu said: “The prestige and dignity of this court is at stake and if the political and executive wing of a state government believes that their partisan interests should prevail over the interests and integrity of the nation, and the due implementation of the orders of this court and the constitutional provisions, the result would be total anarchy.”

It contended that the action taken by Karnataka was against the orders of the apex court which on September 28 directed to supply 9,000 cusecs of water everyday till October 15 to Tamil Nadu.

Referring to a hearing in the matter on October 8, the application drawn by counsel G Umapathy and C Paramasivam claimed that Karnataka did not press its prayer to stay the previous court order on supply of water, knowing that they had to comply with the order.

“In these circumstances, it is most respectfully prayed that this court may be pleased to direct that the respondents herein be summoned and punished for contempt for willfully disobeying the orders of this court and direct them in the meantime to forthwith release the stipulated quantity of 9,000 cusecs till October 15; and make up the deficit occasioned by their default and thus render justice,” the petition said.

Tamil Nadu countered the claims made by Karnataka that it had informed the apex court that it would not be possible for them to supply water on October 8.

“The State of Tamil Nadu and its inhabitants are exercising utmost restraint notwithstanding the fact that farmers have lost the Kuruvai crop and the samba crop is also likely to face a similar situation,” the petition said.

Others named in the petition are D Satya Murthi, secretary, Water Department; M Bangara Swamy, chief engineer (inter state waters); M Shankar Gowda, superintendent engineer; and Vijay Kumar, executive engineer.

On October 8, senior advocate Fali S Nariman, appearing for Karnataka, had submitted before the court that the State will not be able to release any more water.
“It is physically impossible to release water. There is already a surplus of 13,000 cusecs,” he had said.

The court on September 28 told Karnataka to comply with the directions of the Cauvery River Authority issued on September 19 to release 9,000 cusecs of water daily till October 15 in order to save the standing crops in the delta region.

Former Karnataka chief minister S M Krishna had to tender an unconditional apology after the apex court had in 2002 issued a contempt notice to him for not releasing Cauvery waters to Tamil Nadu.

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