A three-judge bench, comprising Chief Justice BN Kirpal, Justice YK Sabharwal and Justice Arijit Pasayat, deferred till Monday the punishment to be awarded for the act of disobedience.
The Karnataka government took the plea of farmers agitation for not implementing the court orders. If an elected government says that because of law and order situation it could not comply with our orders then let it (government) go, observed justice Sabharwal.
The courts observation came at the end of the hearing on two contempt petitions filed by the Tamil Nadu government against Mr Krishna, his water resources minister HK Patil and others.
Earlier, the Supreme Court had directed the Karnataka chief minister, his water resources minister and chief secretary A Ravindra to file their responses to the second contempt petition filed against them by the Tamil Nadu government. The apex court had issued notices and fixed October 24 for hearing both the contempt petitions.
The apex court had on September 3 and October 4, 2002, directed the Karnataka government to release Cauvery water to Tamil Nadu. Besides Mr Krishna, the application has been filed against four others for not following the October 4 order of the apex court directing the release of 9,000 cusecs of water per day in terms of the Cauvery River Authority order of September 8.
The Tamil Nadu government in its second contempt application had asked the apex court to summon Mr Krishna and the others and punish them for wilfully defying the courts orders for a second time.