SC gives Centre till Aug 21 to sort out Cauvery dispute
The Supreme Court today gave one more,
and the last, opportunity for the Centre, till August 12 to frame a
scheme for the implementation of the Cauvery water disputes
tribunal's interim award to release 205 tmc feet water
by Karnataka to Tamil Nadu annually.
The time was given by a three-judge bench comprising Chief
Justice M M Punchhi, Justices K P Thomas and S S M
Quadri after a great deal of persuasion by Attorney General Soli
J Sorabjee during the resumed hearing of the matter.
''Mr attorney general, be clear that no more adjournment would be
granted and the matter will go back to the five-judge Constitution
Bench to pass the necessary order in the matter, since the hearing on
the cross suits by the states of Tamil Nadu and Karnataka had been
almost over on April 9, 1997 when the government expressed its
desire to frame the scheme and sought time for the same,'' the Chief
Justice told Sorabjee.
Earlier, the attorney general pleaded for six weeks' time to iron
out the differences between the contending states.
He said the central government had already convened a meeting
of the states concerned to resolve the differences over the proposed
scheme but the outcome had not been encouraging. The Centre desired
to make another attempt at the highest level to resolve the
differences so that the scheme could be implemented successfully.
''But you have not been able to resolve the differences so far.
It is almost 15 months now since you expressed the desire to frame
the scheme.... The court cannot allow this matter to linger on
forever,'' the court observed.
Initially the court was willing to grant only one week's
adjournment, but after a great deal of persuasion by the attorney
general it finally adjourned the matter for three weeks.
The attorney general said, ''Though we have not been able so far
to resolve the differences among the contending states, we have not
''It is not a hopeless case and the scheme can be enforced only
in a harmonious manner when it is acceptable to all,'' he said.
''The enforceability becomes easier when there is acceptance,''
the Chief Justice quipped.
The tribunal had made the interim award on June 26, 1991, under
the Inter-state Water Disputes Act, directing Karnataka to release
from its Mettur dam 205 tmc ft of Cauvery water annually to Tamil
In order to enforce the award, the Centre has to frame a scheme
under Section 6(a) of the act and gazette it.
The framing of the scheme has been hanging fire for the past 15
Earlier, K Parasaran, appearing for Tamil Nadu, regretted the
undue delay being made by the Centre to frame the scheme for
implementing the interim award.
Already 26 attempts have been made by the Centre at the highest
level to sort out the differences among the contending states but
without any result, he said, and strongly opposed long adjournments.
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