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SC asks Kartaka to give 2,000 cusecs daily to Tamil du

Sentinel Digital DeskBy : Sentinel Digital Desk

  |  19 Oct 2016 12:00 AM GMT

New Delhi, Oct 18: The Supreme Court on Tuesday directed Kartaka to continue to supply 2,000 cusecs of Cauvery river water daily to Tamil du till further orders as it commenced hearing on the maintaibility of appeals by Kartaka, Tamil du and Kerala to challenge the 2007 Cauvery Water Disputes Tribul award. While continuing with its October 4 order on the water release, a bench of Justice Dipak Misra, Justice Amitava Roy and Justice A.M. Khanwilkar said it would be incumbent upon the governments of both states to maintain peace and harmony. “People should not become law unto themselves,” the bench said.

Directing for the continued supply of 2,000 cusecs, the bench noted Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi’s contention that both Kartaka and Tamil du were in a “state of dire need” of the water. Rohatgi said this referring to the report of the Cauvery Supervisory Committee.

The court noted senior counsel Shekhar phade’s stand that Tamil du was in “dire need of water” as well as of senior counsel Fali riman that “Kartaka too is not in a better state”.

Telling the court that drinking water reserves in Kartaka were shrinking, riman — appearing for Kartaka — told the court that situation in the state was “much worse”.

The apex court also took note of Cauvery Supervisory Committee report that both the southern states were in distress situation with their farmers at the receiving end amid a large number of suicides in Mandya district of Kartaka. Telling the bench that appeals by Kartaka, Tamil du and Kerala challenging the 2007 Cauvery Water Dispute Tribul award were not maintaible, Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi said that Article 262 of the Constitution and the Inter-State River Water Dispute Act, 1956, have “eclipsed the jurisdiction” of the top court to examine the tribul award.

“Eclipse of the Supreme Court jurisdiction is complete, and it is not partial. The tribul award is fil and it can’t be challenged and has the force of Supreme Court decree,” Rohatgi told the three-judge bench, pointing out that their jurisdiction stands ousted by the Constitution and the statute.

The AG said that Article 262 was an origil provision of the Constitution and not the amended one and thus does not attract the rigours of the basic structure of the Constitution.

Apparently an unimpressed bench told Rohatgi that the tribul award had the same force as Supreme Court decree but the same was in the realm of its enforceability and it does not substitute the jurisdiction of the apex court.

“It is in the realm of the enforceability of the award. It can’t be made unchallengeable or ussailable. It will have the status of the top court decree, but it can’t be that of the Supreme Court,” Justice Misra observed.

“Oversimplification of law is a dangerous phenomenon,” Justice Misra said as Rohatgi reiterated the Centre’s stand that the three appeals were not maintaible. “It can’t be said that this court has no jurisdiction to examine the correctness of the award. Suppose the Inter-State River Water Disputes Tribul award passes a totally perverse award — as Tamil du, Kartaka and Kerala are contending in the instant case — then who will decide,” the bench asked the Attorney General.

As Rohatgi emphasised that the tribul award was binding on the states and they cannot appeal against it, the bench observed: “The moment it becomes a water dispute, the court is ousted.”

“Article 136 of the Constitution gives us the power of judicial review and Article 262 takes it away,” Justice Misra observed as Rohatgi told the court that it was only in one sphere.

To the court’s query as to “how we understand, appreciate and apply Article 262”, the Attorney General said these are the issues which require authoritative pronouncement by this court. Opposing the Centre’s stand, senior counsel Fali riman said appeals by the three states were maintaible and contended that the legislature cannot say that the order passed by, say a High Court, enjoyed the force of the top court decree. “Can Parliament say that High Court order will have the force of Supreme Court order,” riman said in a poser. (IANS)

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