Single tribunal to resolve interstate water disputes

Union Ministers Narendra Singh Tomar (C), Prakash Javadekar and Santosh Gangwar (L) during a cabinet briefing, in New Delhi, Wednesday, July 10, 2019. (PTI Photo)

The Union Cabinet on Wednesday approved the proposal of setting up a single, permanent tribunal to adjudicate all interstate river water disputes, by scrapping existing nine tribunals.

The main aim of setting up single tribunal is to solve interstate water disputes quickly, Information and Broadcasting Minister Prakash Javadekar told reporters here.

As per the proposal the new system of the tribunal will be mandated to deliver final award in two years, Javadekar said.

In order to give more teeth to the Tribunal, it is proposed that whenever it gives an order, the verdict gets notified automatically, the sources said.

Currently, there are nine tribunals functioning including Mahadayi and Krishna water disputes, at the moment and each tribunal takes around "17 to 27" years to pronounce its final order on disputes.

Besides the new tribunal, the government has also proposed to float its benches by amending the Inter-State Water Disputes Act, 1956 to look into disputes as and when required.

Unlike the Tribunal, the benches will cease to exist once the disputes are resolved.

As per an earlier bill, a retired Supreme Court judge will head the tribunal. There will be benches formed as and when required. The benches though will be wound up once a dispute is resolved, sources said. The 2017 bill could not get the parliamentary nod.

As per the current provisions of the 1956 Act, a tribunal can be formed after a state government approaches the Union government with such a request and the Centre is convinced of the need to form the tribunal.

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