SC rebukes Karnataka, alters order on water release to TN

SC rebukes Karnataka, alters order on water release to TN

SC rebukes Karnataka, alters order on water release to TN
Karnataka on Monday suffered a major setback with the Supreme Court castigating it over “disturbing and totally deprecable” language used in its plea to raise issues of agitation and law and order problem to seek modification of the order for releasing Cauvery river water to Tamil Nadu.

Though the apex court modified its September 5 order by reducing the quantum of per day release of water from 15,000 to 12,000 cusecs, it extended the number of days of giving water to Tamil Nadu from September 5 to 15 upto September 20. Thus, the order would make Karnataka end up releasing more water.

Observing that the people cannot become a law unto themselves, the court directed the inhabitants of both Tamil Nadu and Karnataka to behave properly and maintain law and order.

Taking up an urgent plea by Karnataka on a day of vacation, a bench of Justices Dipak Misra and U U Lalit minced no words in pulling up Karnataka, saying, “Law and order situation can't be the ground for modification or keeping in abeyance an order of the court.”

“Citizens cannot become law unto themselves. When a court of law passes an order, it is duty of the citizens to obey the same. If there is a grievance, they are obligated under the law to take legal remedy,” the bench said.

“Order of the court has to be complied by all the concerned. It is obligation of the executive to see that the order is complied in letter and spirit. Concept of deviancy has no room and disobedience no space,” the bench said. “Agitation on spontaneity or galvanised by any kind of catalyst component can never form the foundation for seeking modification of the order,” it said.

Appearing for Karnataka, senior advocate F S Nariman expressed regret over the affidavit on behalf of the state and sought direction to keep the September 5 order in abeyance. He submitted that Karnataka has so far released 84,168 cusecs of water, despite facing enormous problems, including shortage of drinking water and law and order situation.

Karnataka would not be able to sustain its drinking water needs, he said, pointing out that Tamil Nadu faced no agony as contended earlier by it since only 1,250 cusecs of water was drawn from the Mettur reservoir since September 5 when Karnataka started releasing water. Nariman said there is a mismatch between the demand and use of water by Tamil Nadu.

Senior advocate Shekhar Naphade, representing Tamil Nadu, contended there is an attempt to deny what is due to the state. The Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal award is clear, if there is a deficit, it has to be proportionate but they (Karnataka) want to appropriate water unilaterally, he stated. Naphade submitted Karnataka did not supply the water due to Tamil Nadu for the months of June, July and August.

The bench, which put the matter for further consideration on September 20, concurred with the contention of Tamil Nadu that the law and order situation cannot be a ground for seeking modification of the court's order or keeping it in abeyance. 
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