THE SUPREME Court on Monday dismissed a PIL that sought to declare the Indus Waters Treaty between India and Pakistan as illegal and unconstitutional. “This treaty is of 1960 and this treaty has held good for more than half-a-century,” a bench led by Chief Justice of India J S Khehar said while dismissing the PIL filed by lawyer M L Sharma in his personal capacity.
The bench, however, made it clear that the order dismissing the PIL “does not put any impairment on anybody”, and that the court had only declined to entertain Sharma’s petition.
The clarification came when Sharma said that the dismissal of the PIL should not put any restriction in the way of the government if it wants to review the pact.
During the brief hearing, Sharma argued that the Indus water pact was not a treaty as it was not signed in the name of the President of India.
The agreement was executed on September 19, 1960 between India, Pakistan and the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development, or the World Bank – then Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, then Pakistan President Mohammad Ayub Khan and W A B Iliff for the World Bank were its signatories.
In his PIL, Sharma referred to Article 77 of the Constitution and said it mandates that all executive action of the government shall be expressed to be taken in the name of the President.
“According to the impugned agreement, 80 per cent water goes to Pakistan, which is a serious injury to the fundamental right of the citizens of India, coupled with further financial and natural injuries to national interest,” Sharma’s plea stated.