Cauvery row: Present draft water-sharing formula by May 14 or face contempt, SC warns Centre

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New Delhi | Updated: May 8, 2018 3:10:07 PM

The Supreme Court today asked the Centre to submit the draft of the formula on Cauvery water-sharing among Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Puducherry before May 14.

Cauvery river, Supreme Court, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Cauvery Management Board, Cauvery river dispute, Cauvery water, Karnataka, Cauvery formula, contempt of courtCauvery row: Present draft water-sharing formula by May 14 or face contempt, SC warns Centre

Warning the Centre that delays in filing its draft formula to settle the ongoing row over Cauvery waters will amount to contempt of court, the Supreme Court today asked the Centre to submit the draft of the formula on Cauvery water-sharing among Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Puducherry before May 14. It also directed that the Union Water Resource Secretary to be personally present in the court on the day with the draft copy.

A bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra said that it is not happy with the development. It told the Centre that once the judgment has been delivered on the issue, it has to be implemented. The bench also observed that the Centre was in a “sheer contempt”.

“We do not want to come back to square one. Once the judgment has been delivered, it has to be implemented,” the bench also comprising Justices AM Khanwilkar and DY Chandrachud said.

Appearing for the Centre, Attorney General KK Venugopal said the government was seeking time because the Union Cabinet has not met yet due to the ongoing campaigning in Karnataka where assembly election will be held on May 12. Earlier on May 3, the court had directed the AG to obtain instructions on the steps taken by the government on formulation of a scheme and file an affidavit detailing the same on Tuesday (May 8). On the same day, the AG had submitted before the court that the draft needs to be placed before the Union Cabinet for an approval and sought 10 days time on grounds that Prime Minister Narendra Modi is currently campaigning in Karnataka for his party.

Senior advocate Shekhar Naphade, representing Tamil Nadu, said today told the court that this is the fit case for contempt. “Somebody has to be sent to jail.”

The Supreme Court had in February ordered the government to come up with a formula and set March 30 as the deadline. But the government failed to comply with the SC’s order and filed a plea seeking more clarification and also sought three more months’ time, citing assembly elections in Karnataka. The court later told the government to abide by its order and submit the draft of the formula by May 3.

Tamil Nadu has been insisting that the SC’s reference to the formula in its February 16 order was the direction to the Centre to set up a Cauvery Management Board (CMB). But Karnataka is opposed to setting up of any such board. Kerala, however, has said that the CMB should be headed by the Union Water Resource Secretary and all states should be given due representation in the panel.

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