River water disputes have to be settled: SC

Inter-state river water disputes cannot be allowed to go on for infinity as courts have a Constitutional duty to put those matters to rest at the earliest, the Supreme Court said on Friday.

Dealing with a batch of petitions relating to water sharing of river Krishna, a bench of Justices Dipak Misra and Prafulla C Pant directed the states of Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Karnataka and Telangana to file their submissions clarifying their position within two weeks.

“We are apprised at the bar that pleadings have not been completed. Let it be completed within two weeks from today (Friday). None of the parties shall be given extension of time. Such kind of disputes should be put to rest at the earliest. The court has a constitutional duty to decide such cases at the earliest,” the bench said.

Senior advocate T R Andhyarujina, appearing for Maharashtra, submitted that each state was held up because of non-application of the tribunal’s order. Senior advocate F S Nariman, representing Karnataka, sought permission to file short note summary of the stand in the dispute.

The court put the matter for hearing on April 29.

The court was hearing a cross-appeal filed by Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Maharashtra and Telangana challenging the prescription of Krishna Water Disputes Tribunal.
Andhra Pradesh had approached the apex court challenging the Krishna Water Disputes Tribunal-II order permitting Karnataka to raise the height of the Almatti dam from 519.6 to 524.25 metres.

The Karnataka government, however, contended that the prescription made by the tribunal for drawal of water on November 29, 2013, was without jurisdiction.

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