The Supreme Court on Thursday asked Karnataka and Tamil Nadu not to allow any strike, bandh or agitation that would stymie its order on sharing of Cauvery water.
“There should not be any agitation when it relates to an order of this court. Once an order is passed, the aggrieved can take legal recourse,” a bench of Justices Dipak Misra and U U Lalit said.
As a Kanyakumari resident sought direction to both the states to take immediate preventive steps to check violence and damage to private and public properties due to the agitation, the bench said, “Karnataka and Tamil Nadu are obligated to take action and people cannot take law into their own hands.”
The court posted the PIL for September 20 when it is expected to again take up Tamil Nadu’s plea for the release of Cauvery water.
Karnataka and Tamil Nadu witnessed violent agitations after the court directed the upper riparian state to release 12,000 cusecs of water till September 20 for the samba crop.
“We are compelled and constrained to say that it is the duty of the state to see no agitation, damage or destruction takes place,” the bench said.
“We sincerely hope that wisdom shall prevail upon both the states. We expect that people would maintain peace, order and harmony and more than that, they would show dignity, respect and love for each other,” the bench said.
Senior advocate Adish C Aggarwala, appearing for petitioner P Shivakumar, cited the 2009 judgement of the Supreme Court to contend that Karnataka and Tamil Nadu should take preventive steps.
The bench initially asked the petitioner if he was sure that there was no normality in the states.
The petitioner responded that agitations were still on and that there was a ‘rail roko’ organised in Karnataka and a bandh call given in Tamil Nadu and Puducherry for Friday.
The court then went on to record the guidelines issued by the three-judge bench in 2009 in ‘Destruction of Public and Private Property Vs State of Andhra Pradesh’ which, among others, mandated the states – if the agitation spreads over to the two states – to submit a report suo motu to the apex court about the action initiated.
“We reiterate that neither any ‘bandh’ nor any agitation can take place when the court has passed an order. It is to be complied with and, in any case, if there is difficulty, the concerned parties can approach the court. The people cannot become law unto themselves and, therefore, it is obligatory on the part of the authorities of both the states, namely, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu, to prevent such actions,” the bench said.
In the morning, Justice C Nagappan, sitting with the presiding judge, Justice Misra, recused from hearing the matter which was subsequently posted after lunch before the bench comprising Justices Misra and Lalit that passed the order on September 12.
The apex court had on September 12 taken exception to Karnataka’s application pointing out law and order problem and agitation by political parties to seek reduction in the quantum of Cauvery water to be released to Tamil Nadu.
The court limited per day release of water from 15,000 cusecs to 12,000 cusecs, but extended the period from September 15 to September 20.