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President seeks SC view on SYL row

July 23, 2004 00:48 IST

Faced with a raging inter-state row after Punjab annulled all river water sharing agreements with neighbouring states, the Centre on Thursday referred the controversial measure to the Supreme Court.

President A P J Abdul Kalam has sought the apex court's opinion on the validity of the Punjab Termination of Agreements Act, 2004.

The Centre's move comes ten days after the Punjab assembly passed the law that has been stoutly opposed by Haryana, Rajasthan and Himachal Pradesh, which had asked the Centre to take immediate steps to resolve the crisis.

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Earlier, on June 4, the apex court had asked the Centre to take over the construction of Punjab portion of the canal as the state government showed reluctance to complete to work.

The Union government had on July 15 approached the Supreme Court for fresh directions on the construction of the Sutlej-Yamuna Link Canal following Punjab's unilateral decision on July 12 to scrap its river water sharing agreements with neighbouring states.

In seeking the Supreme Court's opinion on Punjab's termination of its rivers water-sharing accords with neighbouring states, the President, according to an official release in Delhi on Thursday night, has made the following points:

 (1) Whether the Punjab Termination of Agreement Act, 2004 and the provisions thereof are in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution of India;

 (2) Whether the Punjab Termination of Agreements Act, 2004 and the provisions thereof are in accordance with the provisions of Section 14 of the Inter-State

Water Disputes Act, 1956, Section 78 of the Punjab Reorganisation Act, 1966 and the Notification dated 24th March, 1976 issued thereunder;

 (3) Whether the State of Punjab has validly terminated the agreement dated 31.12.1981 and all other agreements relating to the Ravi Beas waters and is discharged from its obligation under the said agreement(s); and

 (4) Whether in view of the provisions of the Act, the State of Punjab is discharged from its obligations flowing from the judgment and decree dated 15.01.2002 and the judgment and order dated 04.06.2004 of the Supreme Court of India.

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