Set up Cauvery mgmt board in four weeks, SC tells Centre

NEW DELHI:The Supreme Court today directed the Centre to set up the Cauvery River Management Board in four weeks and the Karnataka Government to release 6,000 cusecs of water to Tamil Nadu every day from tomorrow, till September 28.

editorial@tribune.com

R Sedhuraman

Legal Correspondent

New Delhi, September 20

The Supreme Court today directed the Centre to set up the Cauvery River Management Board in four weeks and the Karnataka Government to release 6,000 cusecs of water to Tamil Nadu every day from tomorrow, till September 28. A Bench comprising Justices Dipak Misra and UU Lalit pegged Karnataka’s liability at 6,000 cusecs, which is half the quantity Karnataka has been releasing since September 12, but double the quantum recommended by the Cauvery Supervisory Committee yesterday.

The Bench asked the two state governments to file their objections to the supervisory committee’s recommendation in three days and slated the next hearing for September 28.

During three hours of hearing today, both states rejected the quantum of water proposed by the committee for the lower riparian state of Tamil Nadu.

Arguing for Karnataka, senior counsel Fali S Nariman said his client was not in a position to release even a drop of water as doing so would put its farmers and cities such as Bengaluru at peril by depriving them of water for irrigation and drinking.

Appearing for Tamil Nadu, senior advocate Shekhar Naphade pleaded that 3,000 cusecs a day was grossly inadequate to save the standing paddy crop in the Cauvery delta.

On September 5, the SC had directed Karnataka to release 15,000 cusecs of water a day to Tamil Nadu and subsequently reduced it to 12,000 cusecs. Despite this, large-scale violence broke out in Karnataka and sporadic incidents were reported from Tamil Nadu, prompting the Bench to take a serious view and direct the two states to ensure law and order with a heavy hand.

There could be public protests against court orders, but these should be staged peacefully after taking permission from the police. There was no room for any violence to oppose judicial orders and the aggrieved parties could only resort to legally permissible remedies, the Bench had clarified on September 15.

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