The Supreme Court is likely to pronounce on Friday its verdict on the decades-old Cauvery water dispute between riparian south Indian states of Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Kerala.
A bench comprising Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud had on September 20 last year reserved the verdict on the appeals filed by Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Kerala against the 2007 award of the Cauvery Water Dispute Tribunal (CWDT) on sharing of water.
The decades-old Cauvery water dispute was decided unanimously by CWDT in 2007, after determining the total availability of water in the Cauvery basin at 740 thousand million cubic (tmc) feet at the Lower Coleroon Anicut site, including 14 tmcft for environmental protection.
The final award makes a yearly allocation of 419 tmcft to Tamil Nadu in the entire Cauvery basin, 270 tmcft to Karnataka, 30 tmcft to Kerala and 7 tmcft to Puducherry. The top court had earlier clarified that any other forum could touch the matter relating to the Cauvery river basin only after it gives its verdict.
The apex court had in January said the verdict would be pronounced within a month, adding that the matter has already created enough confusion for decades. The top court during the course of pendency of appeals of the neighbouring states against the arbitral award of 2007, had passed several orders directing Karnataka to release Cauvery water to Tamil Nadu.
On September 30, 2016, the Supreme Court had pulled up Karnataka for its repeated “defiance” in flouting its orders for releasing Cauvery water to Tamil Nadu and said no one would know when the “wrath of the law” would fall on it.
Later, Karnataka had moved a review petition in the apex court against its three orders on on the issue and direction to the Centre to create the Cauvery Water Management Board (CWMB), saying “grave miscarriage of justice” had been caused to it following the three apex court orders of September 20, 27 and 30, by which it was directed to release water.
Tamil Nadu had earlier also alleged that Kerala was drawing water in excess of what has been allocated to it by the tribunal. The apex court had on December 9, 2016 upheld the maintainability of appeals filed by the riparian states saying it has the “jurisdiction to decide the parameters, scope, authority and jurisdiction of the tribunal”.
The Court had rejected the Centre’s objection that the CWDT award amounted to a final decree and it had no jurisdiction to hear the appeals against the award.