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Tamil Nadu's plea referred to Constitution
bench in Cauvery waters dispute

The Supreme Court has referred the state of Tamil Nadu's suit, seeking implementation of the Cauvery Waters Dispute Tribunal's interim award, to a five-judge Constitution bench.

The interim award of June 25, 1991, had directed Karnataka to release 205 TMC of Cauvery waters annually to Tamil Nadu from the Mettur Dam.

The suit was referred to the Constitution bench by a three-judge bench comprising Chief Justice A M Ahmadi, Justice S B Majumdar and Justice B N Kirpal.

The bench noted that the Cauvery Waters Tribunal is trying to find a solution to the 25-years-old water-sharing dispute between the states.

The apex court's bench directed that the Constitution bench would answer issues of:

  • Whether, in view of provisions contained in Article 262 of the Constitution and Section 11 of the Inter-State Water Dispute Act, 1956, the suit was maintainable.
  • Whether a suit for the enforcement of an interim order of the tribunal is 'relatable' to the water dispute.
  • Whether the jurisdiction of the apex court under Article 131 of the Constitution cannot be invoked unless the tribunal has recorded the finding that there has been a violation of its order dated June 25, 1991, and April 3, 1992. (By the second order, the tribunal has clarified its interim order dated June 25, 1991).
  • Whether by its order of April 3, 1992, the tribunal can be said to have modified its order dated June 25, 1991, under Section 5(3) of the Inter-State Water Dispute Act. And if so, what is its effect.
  • Whether it is open to the state of Karnataka to unilaterally restrict the release of water required to be made as per the interim order dated June 25, 1991, read with the order dated April 3 1992, under the distress clause stated to have been provided by the tribunal.
  • Whether the plaintiff state (Tamil Nadu), is entitled to all or any of the release it had sought for.

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