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God help you and this country: SC to Centre

“God help this country,” remarked the Supreme Court on Monday as it expressed its anguish over the Centre’s failure to provide accommodation to chairman and members

“God help this country,” remarked the Supreme Court on Monday as it expressed its anguish over the Centre’s failure to provide accommodation to chairman and members of a tribunal set up to resolve the dispute over water sharing of Mahadayi river between Goa,Karnataka and Maharashtra.

“Each tribunal is finding it difficult to function. This has happened with Green Tribunal,now it is happening with water dispute tribunal… as per rules,they are entitled to get accommodation. You can’t deny them when vacancies are available. Do you expect the retired judges to roam on the streets of Delhi? If you don’t want tribunals to function,scrap the statutes which provide for appointment of judges for tribunals,” said a Bench led by Justice R M Lodha. The Bench issued a notice to Urban Development Ministry,directing its Secretary to file an affidavit in four weeks to furnish details of type VII and VIII bungalows available in general pool accommodation as on October 1.

The court made these remarks after Additional Solicitor General H P Raval submitted that the Urban Development Ministry had objected to the rules framed by Water Resources Ministry obligating the government to provide accommodation to inter-state water dispute tribunal chairman as well as members.

The ASG said he was communicating with the departments concerned and the issue was expected to be taken up by the Cabinet in its next meeting.

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“How long can you sleep? You want the court to wake you up from the slumber. Why do you compel us to do something which we refrain from doing? If this is the situation,then may God help you and God help this country,” said the court,adding that the government itself was making the tribunal non-functional by its act. The court said that no policy or rules framed by the Centre can override or ignore the constitutional and statutory provisions vis-à-vis the tribunal.

The court was hearing an interim application filed by Goa,pointing out that unavailability of accommodation had affected the functioning of the tribunal headed by former SC judge Justice J M Panchal.

First published on: 02-10-2012 at 03:21:16 am
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