New Delhi: The Supreme Court is likely to pronounce on Friday its verdict on a batch of cross petitions by Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Kerala and Puducherry challenging the 2007 Cauvery River Water Disputes Tribunal award.
The bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra, Justice Amitava Roy and Justice A.M. Khanwilkar had reserved the verdict on September 20, 2017 after hearing the matter for 29 days spread over eight months.
Both Tamil Nadu and Karnataka had approached the top court soon after the 2007 award was announced, assailing it on several counts.
The Centre had opposed the top court adjudicating over the Cauvery River Water Dispute Award, contending that the appeals by the three states and the union territory of Puducherry were not maintainable as under the Constitution’s Article 262 read with Section 11 of the Inter-State River Water Disputes Act, 1956, the top court was barred from hearing the appeals.
However, the top court had said: “Prima facie we feel that Article 262 does not say that (river water) tribunal award is so sacrosanct that Supreme Court can’t look into it.”
The Cauvery River Water Dispute Tribunal was set-up on June 2, 1990 and gave its final report on February 5, 2007, which was challenged before the top court by all the three states and the union territory.
Karnataka had told the court that 1924 agreement between the then British province of Madras and the princely State of Mysore could not be the basis of sharing Cauvery river water between the present day Karnataka and Tamil Nadu and present day needs must taken into account.
It said that water sharing was decided on the basis of 1890 and 1924 agreement without determining equitable share and its apportionment.
However, Tamil Nadu on the other hand had contended that Tribunal’s award was erroneous as it allocated 192 TMC of water taking into account cultivation of just one crop as against the prevailing two crops in the State.
Seeking more water than that was allocated by the tribunal, it had told the court that in the absence of Cauvery Water Management Board, it has never got its allocated share.
Seeking to put in place a mechanism for the effective implementation of the Cauvery award including Cauvery Management Board, Tamil Nadu had, however, resisted the suggestion that the issue of framing a scheme for setting up of such a board be left to the wisdom of Parliament.
It rejected Karnataka’s stand that allocation of water could be determined only at the end of the crop season or at the end of the water year.
Upon the conclusion of the hearing on November 20, the court had primarily asked Tamil Nadu and Karnataka to submit written notes which would include the question of law by Karnataka, opposition to the proposition of question of law by Tamil Nadu, significant aspects of 2007 tribunal award and the principles that were invoked by the tribunal, the genesis of the issues and other dimensions.