The Supreme Court on Monday agreed to hear Tamil Nadu’s petition seeking to initiate contempt proceedings against the Centre for not constituting the Cauvery Management Board (CMB) within the stipulated period of six weeks.
The Supreme Court on Monday agreed to hear Tamil Nadu’s petition seeking to initiate contempt proceedings against the Centre for not constituting the Cauvery Management Board (CMB) within the stipulated period of six weeks. The last date for setting up the board was March 30.
A bench led by Chief Justice Dipak Misra posted the matter for hearing on April 9 after the state government sought urgent hearing in the matter. The court also assured Tamil Nadu that it will ensure that the state gets its due allocation of the Cauvery water. “We understand Tamil Nadu’s difficulty of not getting water. We will resolve the issue…,” the bench said.
Accusing the Centre of refusing to act to “protect the interests of farmers and the larger interests of the state,” Tamil Nadu said contempt proceedings should be initiated against Cabinet secretary PK Sinha and Union water resources secretary UP Singh for their “willful disobedience” of the SC’s February 16 judgment mandating the Centre to frame a scheme for allocation of the river water among Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Kerala and Puducherry. It also said the Centre had failed to frame the scheme for constitution of the Cauvery Management Board and the Cauvery Water Regulation Committee within six weeks.
“Ensuring timely release of water is apparent in the judgment itself, and therefore, any delay in constituting a Cauvery management board and a Cauvery water regulation committee is to the prejudice to the farmers of State of Tamil Nadu…In the absence of any cogent reasons for not constituting a Cauvery management board and Cauvery water regulation committee within the time frame and/or not making any substantial steps in that directions amount to wilful disobedience of the judgment of the Supreme Court,” Tamil Nadu said.
While the Centre had to frame a scheme in six weeks as per the February judgment, it moved the Supreme Court seeking clarifications on various points besides wanting a three-month extension for implementation of the order.
Declaring the Cauvery river as a “national asset” and no single state can claim exclusive ownership of its water, the Supreme Court had on February 16 reduced its allocation of water to Tamil Nadu to 177.25 thousand million cubic feet (TMC), down from 192 TMC allocated by a tribunal in 2007.
Of the total of 740 tmcft of water, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Kerala and the Union Territory of Puducherry would be annually entitled to 404.25 tmcft, 284.75 tmcft, 30 tmcft and 7 tmcft of Cauvery water, respectively.