Centre obliged to implement Cauvery award: Supreme Court

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Monday pulled up the Central government for not framing a scheme to implement its verdict on the sharing of Cauvery river water as it declined its plea for deferring the issue by three months.

Asking the government to draft the scheme by May 3, a bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra, Justice A.M. Khanwilkar and Justice D.Y. Chandrachud said: “You must show your bonafide that you will frame a scheme to respect the top court order for the distribution of water.”

“You must file it… they are bound to do it and obliged to it,” Chief Justice Misra told Attorney General (AG) K.K. Venugopal.

As Venugopal said there was some difficulty and they were examining whether the scheme should be headed by an administrative or a technical member, the court said it was not concerned with all that.

After senior counsel for Karnataka said that both Karnataka and Tamil Nadu have accepted the top court verdict, the bench said “then tell the people of both the states to maintain calm and peace and co-operate”.

Citing the upcoming election to the Karnataka Assembly and seeking clarifications, the Central government had sought three months’ time to frame the scheme.

Appearing for Tamil Nadu, senior counsel Shekhar Naphade said: “Your order was so clear that even a person having even elementary knowledge of English could understand it. But for reasons better known to the Union of India, they can’t understand it.”

Tamil Nadu moved the top court seeking contempt proceedings against the Central government for its “wilful disobedience” in carrying out its direction to set up a Cauvery Management Board (CMB) and Cauvery Water Regulation Committee (CWRC) as directed by the top court.

The Supreme Court by its February 16 verdict had slightly modified the 2007 Cauvery award and directed the Central government to frame a scheme for its implementation by March 29.

Tamil Nadu had moved the top court on March 31. At the same time, the Central government too had moved the top court by filing the clarification petition.

The top court had reduced Tamil Nadu’s share of Cauvery water from 177.25 thousand million cubic feet (TMC), which was less than 192 TMC allocated by a tribunal in 2007. Karnataka’s share of water was increased by 14.75 TMC.