SC asks Karnataka to give 6000 cusecs Cauvery water to TN in 3 days

Last Updated 27 September 2016, 12:38 IST
A day after Karnataka expressed inability to release Cauvery water, Supreme Court today asked it to discharge 6,000 cusecs of water to Tamil Nadu till Friday despite its assembly resolution, but called for a political solution to the impasse by convening of a meeting of Chief Ministers of the two states and the Centre.

The apex court, which was strongly urged by Tamil Nadu not to hear Karnataka till it complied with the previous orders, asked Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi to facilitate a meeting of the executive heads of both states with the Centre over the next two days to find a resolution to the impasse.

"We think it appropriate that Karnataka releases 6,000 cusecs water to Tamil Nadu in three days by following the order passed by us, despite the resolution passed by the assembly," a bench comprising Justices Dipak Misra and U U Lalit said.

While the order was being dictated by the bench, senior advocate F S Nariman, appearing for Karnataka, vehemently opposed any direction asking the state to release water, saying there was "no logic in it" and the order amounted to "a direct confrontation".

Blaming Karnataka's "obstructionist and obstinate" attitude for the impasse and non-compliance of the apex court directives, senior advocate Shekhar Naphade, appearing for Tamil Nadu, submitted: "On instruction, I am saying that the state (Tamil Nadu) is fed up. We are simply tired of this litigation. We are not getting what is our legitimate rights."

"We are in a federal structure and in a democracy like India, no state can say it will not obey the Supreme Court's order. You cannot pick up fight with everyone. It is not about Karnataka or Tamil Nadu or any state, there has to be federal cooperativism    ," the bench said, asking both states to cooperate in finding a solution to the water feud.

The bench, on being repeatedly pursued by Tamil Nadu to get its orders enforced, said "Have patience for few days. This is not an ordinary litigation. Let us see how things shape up."

In its plea before the apex court yesterday, Karnataka had sought modification of its order asking it to release 6,000 cusecs of Cauvery water to Tamil Nadu, saying it could release the water only by the end of the year, as it first needs to provide for its own state for drinking purposes.

The Karnataka assembly had last week passed a unanimous resolution during a special session directing the state to release the water only for drinking purposes to Bengaluru and regions surrounding Cauvery basin.
At the outset, the bench asked Naphade to apprise it about the prevailing situation. The Tamil Nadu counsel said the September 20 order of the apex court asking Karnataka to release 6,000 cusecs of Cauvery water per day to Tamil Nadu has not been complied with and rather,"in complete defiance, a resolution has been passed by their state assembly that it cannot spare water for us."

"Karnataka should not be heard till it complies with the orders," he said, adding that Tamil Nadu was fed up of this litigation and urged the apex court to exercise its "extra ordinary" powers under Article 142 of the Constitution to enforce its orders.

Nariman came out with all guns blazing, saying "we simply cannot comply with the directions. We accede to the prayers of Tamil Nadu and we should not be heard till end of the (monsoon) season."

The bench said it will hear the state and then asked Karnataka whether the order would be complied at the end of the season. "Only God knows" was the response of Nariman who said it depended on how much rain the Cauvery basin received due to the north-eastern monsoon.

Monthly installments of water, to be released to Tamil Nadu, can only be assessed at the end of the season and right now, there was insufficient water in Karnataka's reservoirs, he said criticising the decision of the Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal (CWDT) and the Supervisory Committee on the issue.

"There is no dispute that monthly allocation is not fixed. That is why the Cauvery Management Board was to decide how much is the rainfall and how much water could be released. We can understand the difficulties of the state (Karnataka). What is your (Karnataka) suggestion for compliance of directions," the bench said.

Noticing the conflicting positions of both the states, the bench, which had asked the Attorney General to stay back in the courtroom, came out with the suggestion that he should facilitate a meeting between the heads of the states with the Centre to find a solution to the logjam and apprise it of the outcome on September 30, the next date of hearing. 
(Published 27 September 2016, 09:47 IST)

Follow us on