SC clears Cauvery Water Management Scheme 2018

SC clears Cauvery Water Management Scheme 2018

It also dismissed Tamil Nadu's plea seeking initiation of contempt against the Centre for non-finalisation of Cauvery scheme. DH File photo

The Supreme Court on Friday put its stamp of approval on the Cauvery Water Management Scheme 2018 prepared by the Union government.

The apex court nod came after it found the scheme in consonance with its February 16 judgement on the distribution of the river's water among Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Puducherry.

“The draft scheme ought to be taken forward to its logical end in accordance with law with the utmost dispatch,” a bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud said.

The court asked the Union government to notify the scheme in the official gazette with “promptitude before the onset of the impending monsoon”.

States' pleas

The court rejected objections from Karnataka and Kerala and declined to consider a contempt plea by Tamil Nadu against the Central Government's officials for their failure to finalise the scheme by March 20, the deadline set earlier.

Both Karnataka and Kerala wanted all dams and other installations to remain under their control.

“The fact that the subject of water, that is to say, water supplies, irrigation and canals, drainage and embankments, water storage and water power, forms part of Entry 17 of List II of the Seventh Schedule of the Constitution, cannot be the basis to whittle down the efficacy of the award passed by the Tribunal and as modified by this court,” Justice Khanwilkar, author of the 28-page judgement, said.

The bench said the scheme has been formulated “to ensure smooth, effective and efficient implementation of the Award of the Cauvery Water Dispute Tribunal, as modified by this court”.

Yield vs release

The court termed as “wholly unnecessary” the plea against the preparation of an indent for the supplies on each reservoir site. It said the award passed by the tribunal quantified the volume of the river water to be shared and apportioned among the states and furnishing an indent of water demand and the total water in the reservoir is to work out the quantity of river water to be released during the relevant period.

“That is to further the rights of the states/UT for just and reasonable use of water from the allocable water on an equitable basis and not to impinge upon their rights and more so for smooth and effective implementation of the award as modified by this court,” it said.