M A I N   N E W S

We are not bound to build SYL: Punjab
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, September 14
The Punjab Government while defending the termination of all water-sharing agreements, informed the Supreme Court that it was under no obligation to build the Sutlej Yamuna Link (SYL) canal despite the earlier court orders.

This was stated by the state government to the apex court in the presidential reference by the Centre, which has sought the Supreme Court’s opinion on the constitutional validity of the Punjab Termination of Agreements Act, 2004.

“The Act of 2004, which terminates agreements on the ground of changed circumstances, is consistent with the legal position on the water allocation and is consistent with the provisions of the Constitution,” said the state government affidavit filed through advocate Rupinder Singh Suri.

The Punjab Government said the state Assembly was forced to enact the law since the creation of the state it has been discriminated as far as its need for water was concerned and alleged its neighbour Haryana had been favoured.

The affidavit said the Act has removed the basis of the judgements of the Supreme Court directing the construction of the canal.

“The state of Punjab has validly discharged itself from the obligation arising from the agreements relating to the Ravi and Beas waters,” it said.

The affidavit said the Act was not extra-territorial as it merely purported to relieve the state from its contractual obligations.

“It does not purport to disturb or affect the pre-existing legal rights of Haryana and Rajasthan, if any, in the waters of the Ravi and Beas,” the affidavit asserted.

The affidavit said it was open to the states of Haryana and Rajasthan to claim before the appropriate forum their legal rights, if any, with regard to the waters of the Ravi and the Beas.

The state government contended that both states were not riparian and therefore have no legal rights to claim any waters of the Ravi and Beas beyond what was granted to them under the provisions of Section 5 of the Punjab Act.

The affidavit said at present, since the court was only examining the legality of the act, the grounds in support of the assertion made by Punjab were not stated.

“Section 5 of the Act fully protects the present and existing utilisation of both Haryana and Rajasthan, including Delhi, in the waters of the Ravi and Beas and therefore there is no present and subsisting injury at all,” it said.

During the pendency of the reference, the Supreme Court had dismissed a petition filed by Punjab seeking review of a court order directing the Centre to implement the January 15, 2002, directive completing the Punjab portion of SYL.

HOME PAGE | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Opinions |
| Business | Sports | World | Mailbag | Chandigarh | Ludhiana | Delhi |
| Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |