CHIEF JUSTICE of India N V Ramana Wednesday recused himself from hearing a plea on sharing of Krishna river water between Andhra Pradesh and Telangana after the former did not agree to the court’s suggestion to the two states to try a mediated solution.
On the last date of hearing on August 2, the CJI, who was born in undivided Andhra Pradesh, had said that he did not want to hear the matter legally. “I belong to both the states. If the matter can be settled in mediation, please do that. We can help with that. Otherwise, I will transfer this to another bench,” he had said.
On Wednesday, Advocate G Umapathy, appearing for Andhra Pradesh, told the bench, also comprising Justice Surya Kant, that the state preferred adjudication of the case by the apex court to mediation.
“Then let the matter be listed before another bench. We are not forcing you, if you don’t want mediation. Place it before another bench,” directed the CJI. “They don’t want mediation, and I don’t want to hear the matter.”
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, who appeared for the Centre, submitted that the government will have no objection if the CJI-led bench heard the Andhra Pradesh plea but the CJI declined.
“Thank you,” the CJI said, ordering that the matter be placed before another bench of which he is not part of.
Andhra Pradesh had approached the top court, claiming that the Telangana government refused to follow decisions taken by the Apex Council constituted under the Andhra Pradesh Reorganization Act, 2014, the directions of Krishna River Management Board formed under this Act, and the Centre’s directives regarding the sharing of water of Krishna river.
The state said the “unconstitutional, illegal and unjust” acts of the Telangana government and its officials “seriously impaired and infringed” the fundamental rights of the people living in Andhra Pradesh.
The state’s petition urged the apex court to direct the Union government to take control of the common reservoirs of Srisailam, Nagarjunasagar and also Pulichintala reservoirs along with all their outlets and operate them as per the rules in vogue as per the binding award.
If necessary, with the help of police protection, operate both the common reservoirs of Srisailam, Nagarjunasagar and also Pulichintala reservoir without causing prejudice to Andhra Pradesh, it urged.