New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Friday slammed the Karnataka government for flouting its order passed on September 27 to release 6,000 cusecs of water to Tamil Nadu for three days and thereby creating a situation where the majesty of law is dented.
A Bench of Justices Dipak Misra and Uday Lalit described as unfortunate the defiance of Karnataka, reiterated its order and directed the state to release 6,000 cusecs of water to Tamil Nadu for six days from October 1 to 6, when the matter will be taken up again for consideration.
The Bench said, “We are granting this opportunity as the last chance and we repeat at the cost of repetition that we are passing this order despite the resolution passed by the joint Houses of state legislature of the state of Karnataka. We are sure that the state of Karnataka being a part of the federal structure of this country will rise to the occasion and not show any kind of deviancy and follow the direction till the report on the ground reality is made available to this Court.”
The bench took note of the submissions of senior counsel Fali Nariman for Karnataka that he will not make any submission for the state as it had not obeyed the orders of the court.
Mr Shekhar Naphade, senior counsel appearing for the State of Tamil Nadu, submitted that he does not intend to argue further, for any order that is passed by this court is possibly not going to be obeyed by Karnataka.
With Karnataka insisting on inspecting the reservoirs in both the states to assess the ground reality, the bench directed Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi to ensure that the Cauvery Management Board is constituted on or before October 4. The bench asked Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Union Territory of Puducherry to nominate their representatives to the CMB by 4 pm on Saturday to enable the Centre to set up the Board by Tuesday. The Bench asked the CMB to study the ground reality (in both the states) and submit a report to the court on October 6.
When the case resumed on Friday, Mr Nariman placed before the court copies of the letters written by Chief Minister Siddaramaiah and his reply to the chief minister. He read out the CM’s letter which said that the state was not in a position to comply with the orders of the apex court to release water to Tamil Nadu. He wanted Mr Nariman to apprise the court of the state’s stand.
On his part Mr. Nariman said since the court had issued a direction for release of water despite the resolution passed by the Assembly, “we must honour the order of the court. I must therefore inform you that apart from reading your letter and my reply, we will not be able to make any submission on behalf of the state of Karnataka.”
The bench appreciated the stand taken by Mr Nariman and said, “We must unhesitatingly state that this behoves the officer of the court in the highest tradition of the Bar.”
Referring to the defiance shown by Karnataka, the bench said, “On a plain reading of Article 144 of the Constitution, it is clear as crystal that all authorities in the territory of India are bound to act in aid of the Supreme Court. Needless to say, they are bound to obey the orders of the Supreme Court and also, if required, render assistance and aid for implementation of the order/s of this court, but, unfortunately, the state of Karnataka is flouting the order and, in fact, creating a situation where the majesty of law is dented.”
Expressing its anguish, the Bench said, “We would have proceeded to have taken steps for strict compliance of our order, but as we are directing the Cauvery Management Board to study the ground reality and give us a report forthwith, we reiterate our earlier direction that the state of Karnataka shall release 6,000 cusecs of water from 1st October, 2016 till 6th October, 2016.”
Modi finally holds Cauvery meet
PM Narendra Modi on Friday held a meeting to discuss the Cauvery river water sharing issue. Some ministers and officials were present in the meeting where various options were discussed to resolve the matter. A meeting convened by the Centre to iron out differences between Tamil Nadu and Karnataka on the impasse had Thursday failed to achieve any breakthrough.
Board: Centre sends letter to states
The Union Water Resources Ministry on Friday asked four Cauvery basin states to nominate their representatives to be appointed on the Cauvery Water Management Board as directed by the Supreme Court. The apex court has directed the Centre to set up the Board by October 4, the Ministry Secretary, Shashi Shekhar said. A Karnataka government official confirmed that it received a communication from the Centre.