Make river tribunal functional: SC to govt

Censuring the Centre for “making a mockery of a statutory body,” the Supreme Court slammed them for showing “lethargy” in providing proper infrastructure

Written by Utkarsh Anand | New Delhi | Published: July 24, 2012 2:11:23 am

Censuring the Centre for “making a mockery of a statutory body,” the Supreme Court on Monday slammed them for showing “lethargy” in providing proper infrastructure and other facilities to the Inter-state Water Dispute Tribunal,constituted 20 months ago to resolve issues pertaining to water sharing of Mahadayi river among Karnataka,Goa and Maharashtra.

“This sort of lethargy is not acceptable. You are making a mockery of statute,under which the tribunal was set up. If you agree to set up a tribunal,you must also provide for required infrastructure,” a Bench of Justices R M Lodha and A R Dave said.

While issuing a notice to the Central government on an application filed by Goa,the Bench said that it was not looking for a “paper-reply” but “some real action” for making the tribunal functional. “You (government) make sure that the tribunal is made functional,” said the Bench. Goa had moved the plea,alleging that the tribunal was rendered non-functional before it could start its proceedings since no infrastructure,accommodation and secretarial staff had been provided to the statutory body,headed by a former SC Judge,Justice J M Panchal.

Advocate A Subhashini,appearing for Goa,submitted that the Centre has not been able to properly implement the apex court’s order of November 22,2010. The Centre had issued a notification on November 16,2010,constituting a tribunal to decide water dispute relating to inter-state river Mahadayi. The Chief Justice of India had nominated Justice Vinay Mittal,then judge of Madhya Pradesh High Court and Justice P S Narayana,former judge of Andhra Pradesh HC,as its members. The court had directed that all disputed issues and complaints relating to water sharing among Goa,Karnataka and Maharashtra must be raised before the tribunal.

Appearing for the Central government, Wasim Quadri sought some time to respond to Goa’s claims.

The court gave the government two weeks’ time and asked them to make sure the tribunal becomes operational.

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