SC refuses to pass interim direction in Cauvery water dispute between TN & K’taka

SC refused to pass any interim direction on the plea filed by Tamil Nadu demanding the release of Cauvery water from Karnataka dams

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Friday refused to pass any interim direction on the plea filed by Tamil Nadu demanding the release of Cauvery water from Karnataka dams.

“Why do you not approach the (Cauvery Water Management) Authority? We do not have any expertise,” told a bench comprising Justices B.R. Gavai, P.S. Narasimha and Prashant Kumar Mishra to Tamil Nadu.

“We do not possess any expertise in the matter… it will be appropriate CWMA (Cauvery Water Management Authority) submit its report as to whether the directions issued for discharge of water have been complied or not,” ordered the bench, while calling for a report from the CWMA by September 1.

Senior advocate Shyam Divan, representing Karnataka, submitted before the top court that it has already released water pursuant to the directions passed by the CWMA and it takes three days time for water to travel to Tamil Nadu. He also apprised the top court that Karnataka has filed a plea before water management authority to review its earlier directions.

On the other hand, senior advocate Mukul Rohtagi, appearing for the Tamil Nadu government, said that Karnataka should immediately release water as there exists a huge water deficit in Tamil Nadu. He said that the water allotted by Cauvery Water Management Authority is much less and requires enhancement, while alleging non-compliance by Karnataka with earlier directions passed by it.

At this, the bench said: “If there is no compliance, bring it to the notice of Authority (CWMA). We will call a report from it.”

Additional Solicitor General Aishwarya Bhati, who was also present during the hearing, apprised the apex court that CWMA is scheduled to meet on August 26 to decide discharge of water for next fortnight.

The Supreme Court asked CWMA to decide the claims made by the two states while posting the matter for hearing on September 1.

Earlier on Monday, CJI D.Y. Chandrachud had agreed to constitute a bench after senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi, who appeared for the state of Tamil Nadu, sought urgent listing of the application moved by the state seeking release of water for the month of August in accordance with the directions passed by the Cauvery Water Management Authority (CWMA).

In its application, Tamil Nadu has sought direction from the top court to Karnataka to ensure the stipulated releases for the month of August and September as per the award of the Cauvery Tribunal award as modified by the Supreme Court in 2018.

On the contrary, the Karnataka government has told the Supreme Court that Tamil Nadu’s application demanding release of water from river Cauvery is wholly misconceived as it is based on an erroneous assumption that this water year is a normal water year and not a distressed water year.

An affidavit filed by State’s Water Resources Department said that Karnataka is not obliged to ensure water prescribed for a normal year because a distress condition has arisen in the Cauvery basin due to the failure of the southwest monsoon.

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