The dispute over sharing the waters of the Cauvery is headed for a constitutional crisis with Karnataka Chief Minister K Siddaramaiah convening a special Assembly session on Friday regarding the recent Supreme Court order directing the state to release 6,000 cusecs of water to Tamil Nadu daily.
The state Cabinet had recently passed an order saying it won’t implement the SC order, an issue which later found resonance at an all-party meeting. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) abstained from the all-party meeting but its leader B S Yeddyurappa welcomed the Cabinet decision.
Former Union minister and Congress Lok Sabha member M Veerappa Moily questioned the apex court’s order. “The state government can give water depending on its availability. The matter has to be addressed by the supervisory committee, which has all the data but the SC has taken up the responsibility,” Moily said. “Let’s see what happens in the Assembly.”
Constitutional expert Subhash Kashyap described the situation as “ticklish” saying a confrontation building up between the state Assembly and the Supreme Court was “unfortunate”. According to Kashyap, both the state Assembly and the SC had freedom to operate in their own spheres, which is to reflect the people’s wish and adjudicate on disputes, respectively.
“Both must practise their constitutional restraint at this point… This is not good for democracy,” Kashyap said.
Clarifying the issue further, Kashyap said that an Assembly resolution was merely an expression of opinion and not an order. The All-India Congress Committee is keeping a close watch on the developments. “Water politics is high on emotions but we are confident that the states concerned will show statesmanship and will have constitutional balance and equanimity to deal with the SC order,” Congress spokesperson and senior SC lawyer Abhishek Manu Singhvi said.
Sources said in case of a confrontation over the issue, the apex court order will have constitutional supremacy. As a middle path, the sources said some water may have to be released by Karnataka.