SC orders Karnataka to release 4tmc-water to TN or 'face-consequences'
Lashing out at the Karnataka government, the SC has ordered it to release 4tmc of Cauvery water to Tamil Nadu (TN) for May, warning it of "serious consequences" otherwise. It has also rebuked the Center for seeking more time to implement the court's earlier orders on the ground that PM Narendra Modi and other ministers are busy preparing for the Karnataka elections.
The decades-old river water sharing dispute at a glance
The dispute dates back to pre-independence agreements (1892 and 1924) between Mysore and Madras Presidency. In 1990, the SC constituted the Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal (CWDT). In 2007, the SC awarded TN 419tmcft of water. Karnataka got 270 tmcft, Kerala 30 tmcft and Puducherry 7tmcft. Karnataka challenged the decision in the SC again. Kerala and TN followed.
The SC's latest decision came earlier this year
On February 16, the SC ordered Karnataka to release 177.25tmcft of water to TN instead of 192tmcft. Bengaluru will receive an additional 4.2tmcft owing to its water crisis, the court added, asking the Center to constitute a Cauvery Management Board.
Why did the government want a delay?
The government filed an affidavit a day after the six-week deadline, claiming taking action before Karnataka polls would lead to "massive public outrage and vitiate elections." It added that the states involved have expressed contradicting views about the water-sharing "scheme." To avoid further litigation, it wanted to discuss the matter with the states, it said, seeking an extension of three months.
Can't approve scheme as PM busy in campaigning: Center
After TN took the Center to court, the SC gave the government till May 3 to implement its orders. But the Center argued the Cabinet couldn't meet to approve the scheme as PM Modi had gone straight to Karnataka after returning from his foreign visit. It asked the court to delay the hearing till after May 12, when Karnataka goes to polls.
SC asks Center to submit affidavit on steps taken
TN in return accused the Center of "politicizing the issue." "This is the end of cooperative federal politics," it argued. The SC has now asked the Center to submit an affidavit by Tuesday listing the steps taken to frame the water-sharing scheme in accordance with its order. "We are not bothered about the polls. The scheme should have been framed by now," it observed.Share this timeline