Supreme Court agrees to constitute bench for hearing Tamil Nadu govt’s plea Over Cauvery Water Dispute
21 August, 2023 | Anamika Singh Parihar
The Supreme Court has decided to establish a bench for the hearing of the Cauvery River water-sharing dispute involving Tamil Nadu and Karnataka.
On August 21, the Supreme Court took the decision to immediately establish a bench for the hearing of the Cauvery River water-sharing dispute. In this case, Tamil Nadu has requested that Karnataka be instructed to release 24,000 cusecs of water daily for its standing crops.
Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud, who leads the bench, stated that the court will form the bench on the same day, following a request from senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi, who represents Tamil Nadu. Rohatgi urgently requested a hearing for the case, citing the Tamil Nadu government’s application in the Cauvery River water-sharing dispute.
“This is an urgent plea for the release of Cauvery water for August as per the Cauvery Water Management Authority order. The court has to constitute a bench, the CJI said while urging to list it at the earliest for hearing.
While reacting to this, the bench said, “Today itself, I will constitute a Bench.”
For decades, the dispute between Karnataka and Tamil Nadu regarding the allocation of water from the Cauvery River has remained a contentious issue. This disagreement has led to an ongoing struggle over the distribution of water from the river, which serves as a crucial source for both irrigation and drinking purposes for a significant population in the area.
In response to this situation, the Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal (CWDT) was established by the Central Government on June 2, 1990. Its purpose was to arbitrate disputes among Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Karnataka, and Puducherry concerning the division of water-sharing capacities.
Currently, the government of Tamil Nadu has approached the highest court in the land, seeking renewed directives regarding the release of water from the Cauvery River.
In its recent application, Tamil Nadu has requested that the State of Karnataka take immediate action to release 24,000 cubic feet per second (cusecs) of water from its reservoirs. This release should ensure that the specified water quantity is available at Biligundlu, situated at the inter-State border, for the remaining duration of the month. This is essential to address the urgent requirements of the crops that are currently growing.
Furthermore, Tamil Nadu has appealed to the highest court to instruct Karnataka to guarantee the release of 36.76 TMC (thousand million cubic feet) of water, as stipulated for September 2023 according to the final award of the Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal (CWDT) in February 2007. This award was later adjusted by the Supreme Court in 2018.
Tamil Nadu has emphasized that Karnataka must rectify the deficit of 28.849 TMC of water during the ongoing irrigation year, spanning from June 1 to July 31.
The application to the apex court seeks directives to ensure the complete implementation of the water release from Karnataka to Tamil Nadu. It emphasizes that Karnataka has not followed through on previous directives, including a reduction in the specified water amount.
The application also highlights Karnataka’s failure to adhere to the required water release as directed by the CWRC. It stresses that Karnataka is obligated to release Cauvery water to Tamil Nadu based on the final order from the Tribunal, as modified by the Court.
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