Following up on its decision to boycott the Cauvery River Authority chaired by the prime minister, the Tamil Nadu government on Wednesday moved the Supreme Court, seeking a direction to its Karnataka counterpart to ensure compliance with the interim award of the Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal.
The decision to file a comprehensive suit, which seeks to revive the Cauvery case that was withdrawn by the erstwhile Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam government, sets out seven main prayers and demands interim relief on six counts.
The state government has sought the declaration of the Cauvery Water Implementation Order 1991, issued by the Centre to give effect to the tribunal's interim award, as ineffective. Subsequent orders under the scheme should also be declared ineffective, as they are no longer in conformity with section 6-A of the Inter-State River Water Disputes Act, the petition submitted.
Tamil Nadu also sought from the Supreme Court interim relief in the form of:
More importantly, the petition sought a permanent injunction on Karnataka, restraining it from unilaterally reducing the weekly and monthly releases of water stipulated under the interim award. "Karnataka should also permanently be restrained from impounding at will the waters of the interstate River Cauvery to the detriment of Tamil Nadu," the petition said.
The petition comes five years after the Tamil Nadu government withdrew the long-pending Cauvery case on the Supreme Court's suggestion following the constitution of the CRA.
Earlier, at Tamil Nadu's instance, the court had directed the Centre to notify the tribunal's interim award for implementation. Tamil Nadu moved the court again in early 1996, accusing Karnataka of non-compliance with the interim award and seeking directions to the Centre to enforce it.
The court instead directed then prime minister P V Narasimha Rao to hold talks with the chief ministers of the four riparian states, including Kerala and Pondicherry, to sort out the issue. When the talks were in progress, H D Deve Gowda left the Karnataka chief minister's chair to become prime minister, while
Jayalalithaa lost power in Tamil Nadu.
The idea of a river authority chaired by the prime minister and with the four chief ministers as members flowed from an earlier direction of the Supreme Court. Obviously, the court had concluded that the dispute was more political than legal, and needed a political solution.
The Tamil Nadu Cabinet's decision a month ago to withdraw from the CRA and move the Supreme Court is thus an effort to convert this political question back into a legal issue, following the authority's inability to address the state's concerns and enforce the interim award.
Back to top
Tell us what you think of this report