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SC reserves order on maintainabilty of appeals by K'taka, TN

Press Trust of India  |  New Delhi 

The Supreme today reserved its order on maintainability of appeals filed by Karnataka, and against the 2007 award of the Cauvery Water Dispute Tribunal (CWDT).

"Judgement reserved. Interim order of October 18 to continue till further orders," a bench of Justices Dipak Misra, Amitava Roy and A M Khanwilkar said.

The bench asked the parties to file their written submissions by October 24 and said it would pass the order thereafter.

The Centre, through Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi, had raised a preliminary objection claiming that the CWDT award amounted to a final decree in the dispute and the apex had no jurisdiction to hear appeals against the award of the tribunal.

Continuing its argument, today said that appeals filed by the state against the award of the tribunal was maintainable.

Noted jurist and senior advocate Fali S Nariman, appearing for Karnataka, said the Supreme had the jurisdiction to adjudicate the appeals filed by the state against the award of tribunal.

Senior advocate Shekhar Naphade, appearing for Tamil Nadu, also contended that the appeals were maintainable and no statute can take away the powers of the apex

"Section 6(2) of Inter-state Water Disputes Act, 1956 cannot oust Supreme Court's constitutional appellate powers given under Article 136 of the Constitution," Naphade said.

Similarly, also supported the stand of and said that the appeals were maintainable.

However, Puducherry supported the stand of the Centre that the appeals filed by Karnataka, and are not maintainable.

Rohatgi reiterated his yesterday's argument that Supreme had no juridiction to adjudicate the appeals pertaining to the dispute relating to use, distribution and control of inter-state water or river valley.

"The appeals filed by the states are not maintainable as per article 131 and 262 of the Constitution and the provisions of Inter-state River Water Disputes Act, 1956," he said.

The attorney general said as per the constitutional provisions, the inter-state water dispute tribunal is headed by a retired Supreme or High judge and its decree has a force like that of a decree of the Supreme and thus the apex cannot hear the appeals against its own order.

The bench had yesterday said it would first go into the

issue of maintainability of appeals filed by Karnataka, and against the award of tribunal and then hear arguments on the report filed by the Supervisory Committee formed to assess the ground realities in the Cauvery basin region.

The apex court-appointed panel had in its recent report suggested doing away with "outdated and unscientific water application techniques" to resolve the wrangle, saying both and were facing water shortage which had created unemployment and financial hardship for the people.

It had said the neighbouring riparian states needed to appreciate interest of and Puducherry to protect their established irrigation and Karnataka's aspirations for development and educate their people accordingly.

The panel in its 40-page report had noted that farmers in both states were in severe distress and adequate crop compensation must be provided to them.

Supreme had on October 4 directed to release 2,000 cusecs Cauvery water every day to from October 7 to 18 and deferred its order asking the Centre to set up Cauvery Water Management Board (CWMB) till it finally decided on appeals relating to the age-old dispute. It had yesterday directed to continue to supply with 2,000 cusecs of water till further orders.

The apex had also directed the Centre to establish the CWMB, saying once it was constituted, its team would visit the sites to take a prima facie view of the ground reality and submit a report.

On October 1, had moved a review petition in the apex against its three orders on Cauvery water release to and direction to the Centre to create the CWMB.

In its review petition, said "grave miscarriage of justice" has been caused to it pursuant to the three apex orders of September 20, 27 and 30, by which it was directed to release 6000 cusecs of water till October 6 and the Centre was to constitute the Board by October 4.

First Published: Wed, October 19 2016. 17:48 IST