M A I N   N E W S

river row
Punjab escalating tension, HP tells SC
R Sedhuraman
Legal Correspondent

New Delhi, January 29
Himachal Pradesh has contended in the Supreme Court that Punjab was seeking control over the Bhakra Beas Management Board (BBMB) only “to enhance the controversy” over the enactment of the Punjab Termination of Agreement (PTA) Act 2004.

Parliament had “wisely” placed BBMB under the overriding control of the Central Government for administration, maintenance and operation so that inter-state disputes over sharing of river waters were resolved in the best interests of the riparian states, Himachal said in an affidavit filed in the SC. Opposing Punjab’s 2007 suit challenging the Punjab Re-organisation Act 1966, under which Parliament handed over BBMB to the Centre, Himachal said the neighbouring state had no right to take exception to the Act after a lapse of 41 years.

Pointing out that PTA had sought to nullify the 1966 re-organisation Act in respect of river water sharing, HP said “Punjab has no power to encroach upon the territorial legislative power of Parliament.” Further, Parliament had already enacted Inter-state Water Dispute Act 1956 and River Board Act 1956 for the regulation and development of inter-state water and river valleys. “Thus, in terms of Article 254 of the Constitution of India the civil suit being repugnant to the provision of law enacted by Parliament is not maintainable,” the hilly state contended. Handing over BBMB to Punjab would come in the way of protecting the riparian rights of HP, it maintained. The provisions of the re-organisation Act, enacted for carving out Himachal and Haryana from Punjab, in respect of BBMB were “in accordance with the Constitution and liable to continued.” Himachal also noted that the President had referred PTA to the SC for adjudication on its validity and the matter was pending.





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