In a big setback for Prakash Singh Badal-led Punjab Government, Supreme Court on Thursday quashed its legislation involving water issue with neighboring state Haryana. The apex court termed the Punjab Termination of Agreement Act, 2004, as invalid. The court announced its verdict on the presidential reference of 2004 on the Sutlej-Yamuna Link (SYL) canal controversy. The controversy is on sharing of waters by states, including Punjab and Haryana. Earlier, a constitution bench headed by Justice AR Dave had reserved the verdict on May 12, had said that the states concerned should settle their disputes themselves. Punjab government, in march, passed a legislation, and scrapped all water sharing agreements with neighbouring Haryana. Centre will now take over the canal and continue with the work after SC order, news agency ANI reported.
Meanwhile, all Punjab’s Congress MLAs have sent their resignations to Punjab PCC Chief Captain Amarinder Singh protesting SYL Verdict. Amarinder Singh has also resigned as an MP. Construction of the SYL canal would have also benefited states like Himachal Pradesh and Rajasthan. Congress has called for a press conference at 4.30 pm today. Meanwhile, Haryana Congress leaders have welcomed the decision. Congress Spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said that he backs the decision. Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar has also backed the decision. Khattar said: “I welcome apex court’s decision, it was already there, SC has only quashed Punjab’s unconstitutional law.” Ruling Shiromani Akali Dal MLAs have also threatened to resign. The decision might play as a major game-changer in poll-bound state.
State of Punjab goes to polls in March 2017.