The Centre on Monday moved the Supreme Court seeking modification of its earlier orders asking it to constitute the Cauvery Water Management Board (CWMB) by Tuesday.
Attorney general Mukul Rohatgi told a bench headed by Justice Dipak Misra that the Centre should not have been asked to constitute the CWMB as the main appeal on the issue is still pending and the task of setting up the CWMB fell under the domain of the executive.
“The decision to form the CWMB is Parliament’s prerogative and the court cannot ask us to do so,” he argued. When asked why it did not disclose this earlier, the Centre said: “It was a mistake.”
The apex court had twice ordered the Centre to form CWMB. While the bench on September 20 had granted four weeks to the Centre to constitute the board, later on September 30 it had advanced it to Tuesday (October 4) in order to resolve the impasse over sharing of Cauvery waters.
The bench posted the matter for hearing on Tuesday. It also asked the Karnataka government to apprise it by Tuesday afternoon whether it has released 6,000 cusecs of water from the Cauvery river to neighbouring Tamil Nadu from October 1-6 as directed by the apex court on September 30.
Giving the last opportunity to the Siddaramaiah government to release 6,000 cusecs of Cauvery water to Tamil Nadu, despite a unanimous resolution passed by both houses of the state Assembly, the bench had last week threatened Karnataka by saying that it would find it difficult when the ‘wrath of law’ will fall on it for disobeying its orders.
“Karnataka despite being a state is flouting the order and creating a situation when the majesty of law is dented. We would have proceeded to take steps for strict compliance of the order, but we have directed Cauvery Water Management Board to first study the ground realities and submit a report,” the bench said.
The Siddaramaiah-led Karnataka government has said it’s not ignoring the Supreme Court orders, but is bound by the state legislature’s decision to release water from the Cauvery basin only for drinking water needs. Karnataka claims that its major metros, including capital Bengaluru, barely have enough water to meet the needs of residents and can give water to Tamil Nadu next in the end of November.