IN VIEW of the Centre’s resistance, the Supreme Court Tuesday put on hold constitution of the Cauvery Management Board and decided to depute a technical team instead to assess ground realities in the river basin and asked it to report back.
“The said team shall go to the area in question and submit a report relating to the ground reality before this court on October 16,” said the bench of Justices Dipak Misra and Uday U Lalit.
The court also directed Karnataka to release 2,000 cusecs water to Tamil Nadu every day from October 7 to 18. The interim order was passed after Karnataka’s counsel Fali S Nariman was given half-an-hour to take instructions from government functionaries regarding the quantum of water the upper riparian state was willing to release.
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Nariman, however, objected to the court’s orders and questioned the basis of determining the quantity of water to be released. “On what basis is Your Lordships stating give 10,000 cusecs, give 15,000 cusecs and 6,000 cusecs, etc,” he asked.
As the bench retorted that the orders to release water were based on arithmetic, Nariman said arithmetic was not enough. “You must look at the ground realities also.”
Karnataka had said that it would not be possible for the state to release more than 1,500 cusecs per day for 10 days starting October 7.
Appearing for Tamil Nadu, senior lawyer Shekhar Naphade criticised the Centre for backtracking from its consent to set up the board. “They (Karnataka) did not comply with the orders. The Union government is playing into their hand,” Naphade contended. “Karnataka has taken the court’s orders lightly and now plays the victim.”
At this, Nariman replied: “If you (Tamil Nadu) go on like this and you (court) pass whatever orders, we will have to see what we can do.”
The court responded, “There is a natural difficulty (that) we could not envisage at that stage (while passing
orders on Cauvery Management Board).”
Seeking deferment of the order on the board, Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi submitted that its formation was part of the statutory and legislative function, which can be done only after the final judgment on the pending matters challenging the tribunal’s decision is given.