Cauvery row: Contempt proceedings against Centre for not adhering to CMB deadline? Supreme Court to hear Tamil Nadu plea today

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New Delhi | Published: April 9, 2018 11:26:33 AM

The SC had in its February 16 order asked the Centre to formulate a 'scheme' to divide water of the river among four states - Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Kerala and Puducherry. The court had granted six weeks time to the government for this.

Cauvery River, Supreme CourtCauvery River

The Supreme Court will today hear two petitions of the Centre and the Tamil Nadu government over setting up of the Cauvery Management Board (CMB) to divide the water of the river among four southern states currently locked into a bitter fight. While the Centre has filed a plea before the SC seeking more clarification over its direction to formulate a ‘scheme’, Tamil Nadu’s AIADMK government has filed a plea seeking contempt proceedings be initiated against the government for not adhering to its February 16 order.

A bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices AM Khanwilkar and DY Chandrachud had last week posted the hearing on Centre’s plea for February 9. The Centre has asked the apex court to clear the air over its order to formulate a ‘scheme’. The government had said that it has studied the Bhakra Beas Management Board (BBMB) and Narmada Control Authority. It said that while in the case of the BBMB, operation, regulation and maintenance remains with the management board, the NCA only looks after the implementation of the Tribunal award. The government said that all parties (Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Kerala and Puducherry) have different views and thus they can move contesting the Centre’s formula, hence more clarification is required.

Besides, the Centre has also asked for three more months to come up with a scheme citing assembly polls in Karnataka.

On the other hand, Tamil Nadu has filed a plea seeking contempt proceedings be initiated against the Centre for not adhering to the SC’s order. The top court had in its February 16 order asked the Centre to come up with a ‘scheme’ to divide water of the river among all four states. The court had granted 6 weeks time to the government, adding that that the deadline will not be extended.

While Tamil Nadu is insisting that the SC’s reference to the ‘scheme’ is setting up of the CMB, Karnataka is opposed to it. Kerala has argued that the CMB be headed by Cabinet Secretary or Union Water Resource Secretary and Secretaries of all four states be appointed as the members of the panel. Puducherry has been demanding more allocation of water. The UT has been allocated 7TMC for the Karaikal, a small coastal enclave.

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