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THE SUPREME Court Tuesday ordered Karnataka to continue releasing 2000 cusecs of Cauvery water daily to Tamil Nadu till further orders.
A bench led by Justice Dipak Misra also directed both states to ensure peace and harmony and added that people should not be allowed to become law unto themselves.
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“We are not going to modify our order. We will continue with the order for release of 2000 cusecs (cubic feet per second) of water,” said the bench, also comprising Justices Amitava Roy and A M Khanwilkar.
Taking exception to reports of agitation in some parts of Tamil Nadu and Karnataka, the bench told the counsel, “Please tell your executives and citizenry to follow the order. Common sense must prevail…. The state of Karnataka is complying with the order and is bound to comply with it. Mutual respect towards each other and property must be maintained.”
ls filed by Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Kerala against the 2007 decision of the Cauvery Water Dispute Tribunal. Karnataka said it has complied with the order for releasing water from October 7 to 18, while Tamil Nadu contended that it was still in dire need of water.
Appearing for the Centre, Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi submitted the report of the technical committee headed by Central Water Commission chairman G S Jha. He highlighted the findings that both Karnataka and Tamil Nadu are in dire need of water.
Senior advocate Fali S Nariman, representing Karnataka, sought time to respond to the report. Appearing for Tamil Nadu, senior advocate Shekhar Naphade submitted that the state was in deficit of 11 TMC (thousand million cubic) feet water.
At the outset, Rohatgi questioned the maintainability of the appeals against the Tribunal’s order. He said once the Tribunal’s order is published, it is akin to the Supreme Court’s order, which cannot be assailed. Citing Article 262 (1) and (2) of Constitution, he contended the power of SC is eclipsed after the Tribunal formed under the Inter-state River Water Dispute Act, 1956, has adjudicated over the issue. He maintained such a decision cannot be challenged either in writ jurisdiction under Article 32, appellate jurisdiction under Article 136, or original jurisdiction under Article 131 of the Constitution.
Nariman, however, contended that the state filed its appeal against the Tribunal’s order in 2007 before it was published on February 19, 2013.
The bench said the power of judicial review cannot be taken away, and how this power of the apex court is to be appreciated, understood and applied in terms of Article 262 has to be determined. The hearing will continue on Wednesday.