JD(S) leader H D Kumaraswamy on Friday said one of the Supreme Court judges hearing the Cauvery water dispute case should have recused himself from hearing the case owing to conflict of interest.
Participating in the discussion on the Cauvery issue in the Assembly, Kumaraswamy said one of the judges hearing the case had earlier represented Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa for several years as her advocate and thus it amounted to conflict of interest.
He pointed out that on an earlier occasion, Supreme Court judge Justice Jasti Chelameswar recused himself from hearing a batch of petitions related to the implementation of the Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal (CWDT) award filed by Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala and others. Justice Chelameswar had stated that he did not want to be part of the bench as he had argued against Karnataka while representing Andhra Pradesh as its advocate.
Kumaraswamy said the state government had sincerely honoured court directions on release of water to Tamil Nadu on several occasions but the Constitutional authority had showed scant respect to Karnataka. He pointed that the state had released 52.719 tmcft water to Tamil Nadu since June this year from the total inflow of 125 tmcft into the Cauvery basin dams.
The state had stopped supply of water for irrigation to its farmers to honour the court’s direction and yet it had got an adverse order. “Our honesty and sincerity should not become our weakness and the time has come for us to take an hardline stand,” he said.
Leader of the Opposition Jagadish Shettar, who termed the day as historic, said the BJP will try and impress upon the Centre not to notify the Cauvery Management Board. “The court has surpassed its jurisdiction by ordering the constitution of the board at a time when the original suit challenging the CWDT award is yet to be disposed of by a larger bench,” he said.
Shettar said the court direction to Karnataka to release 6,000 cusecs of water to Tamil Nadu everyday between September 21 and 27 was practically not implementable.
“Failure to comply with a non-performing order will not amount to contempt of court,” the former chief minister said. The government and legal team should make proper preparations ahead of the hearing of the original suit scheduled to be taken up from October 18. Shettar and Kumaraswamy urged the state government to pay compensation to farmers of the Cauvery basin who have lost their standing crops due to shortage of water. Kumaraswamy said the government should pay a compensation of Rs 25,000 per acre to farmers.