Cauvery dispute: Centre seeks three-month extension to formulate scheme

Cauvery dispute: Centre seeks three-month extension to formulate scheme

The Union government on Saturday filed a plea before the Supreme Court seeking three more months to implement the February 16 judgement on distribution of Cauvery river water, saying framing a scheme after announcement of Karnataka Assembly elections may create massive public outrage over there.

It also sought clarification on "framing of scheme" for implementing the verdict as divergent views were expressed by Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and other states.

The Union government also sought to know if the scheme to be framed under the Interstate River Water Disputes Act can be at variance from the Cauvery Management Board as recommended by the Cauvery Water Dispute Tribunal.

Citing the proposed state Assembly elections in Karnataka on May 12 as reasons for more time to comply with the judgement, the Centre said if the scheme was announced during its currency, it would create law and order problem and vitiate election process.

"Cauvery is a very emotive issue in Karnataka and in the past, the issue has led to serious law and order situations leading to avoidable loss of human lives and property," it said.

On February 16, the apex court's bench presided over by Chief Justice Dipak Misra gave six weeks time to the Centre to ensure that the rights of the state as determined by it was carried out.

In its 12-page application, the ministry of water resources detailed the steps taken out by it since the pronouncement of verdict, including seeking views from the states of Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Puducherry, and holding of meetings of chief secretaries and other officials of the states.

The Tamil Nadu government said that the Centre is mandated to put in place an authority or body for implementation of the final decision by setting up a Cauvery Management Board and a Cauvery Water Regulation Committee.

On the contrary, the Karnataka government contended that the scheme in the form of Cauvery Management Board was clearly ultra vires of the federal structure and the Supreme Court has not endorsed or approved such a board in its judgement.

It further maintained that the scheme contemplated in the judgement is "constitution of a dispute resolution body" as distinct from the management board.

The Centre said in view of divergent views of the states on framing of scheme and to avoid further litigations, it is felt necessary to seek clarifications from the top court.

It also sought to know if it was to set up the Cauvery Mangement Board, it can have a mixture of administrative body and technical body instead of a purely technical body as recommended by the tribunal.

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