Supreme Court on Tuesday asked the Union water resources secretary to appear before it on May 14.
Pulling up the Centre for showing “sheer contempt of court” by not framing a Cauvery draft water-sharing scheme, the Supreme Court on Tuesday asked the Union water resources secretary to appear before it on May 14 with the draft for implementation of its ruling on water sharing between the southern riparian states of Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Kerala and Union Territory of Puducherry.
A bench led by chief justice Dipak Misra told the Centre that “once the judgment has been delivered, it has to be implemented…we do not want to come back to square one.”
The CJI said court was not keen to let the matter linger on and that the Centre cannot abdicate its duty to frame the scheme. “By now the authority should have framed the scheme. It can’t go on like this. What you have done is sheer contempt.”
“As per the judgment, it’s the duty of the authority to implement the decree. The executive authority has to deal with it. How much water problem is being faced by which state, only the authority can decide it. You are under obligation to implement the judgment,” the CJI told the Centre.
The apex court had in February asked the Centre to formulate a scheme to ensure compliance of its judgment on the decades-old Cauvery dispute. It had modified the Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal award of 2007 and clarified that it will not be extending time for this on any ground.
Attorney general K K Venugopal sought 10 more days so as to give a “finishing touch” to its draft scheme and also get the nod of the Union Cabinet. He again claimed that the draft scheme was ready but was awaiting approval by the Cabinet since the ministers were busy in the Karnataka elections. He also urged the court to hear the matter after the Karnataka elections are over.
The AG assured the court that once the scheme is ready, water shall be released as per the SC judgment and the authority shall ensure the same.
Referring to the violence and deaths that followed the Supreme Court order in the SC/ST case, Venugopal said the presentation of a scheme before the elections can create a law and order problem in Karnataka just before the polls.
Senior advocate Shekhar Naphade, appearing for Tamil Nadu, opposed the AG’s plea and said “this is the fit case for contempt. Somebody has to be sent to jail”.