The Supreme Court on Tuesday slammed Narendra Modi-led central government for the “sheer contempt” of its orders by not framing a scheme to distribute Cauvery water among Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Kerala, and Puducherry.
The apex court ordered Secretary of the Union Water Resources Ministry to appear before it on May 14 and submit a draft of the Cauvery management scheme.
Earlier on February 16, the apex court had asked the Centre to set up the Cauvery management board to ensure distribution of the Cauvery water as per its judgment on the decades-old dispute.
The apex court raised the 270 tmcft share of Cauvery water for Karnataka by 14.75 tmcft and reduced Tamil Nadu’s share, while compensating it by allowing extraction of 10 tmcft groundwater from the river basin, saying the issue of drinking water has to be placed on a “higher pedestal”.
A bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra told the Centre that once the judgment has been delivered on the issue, it has to be implemented.
“We do not want to come back to square one. Once the judgment has been delivered, it has to be implemented,” the bench also comprising Justices AM Khanwilkar and DY Chandrachud said.
Attorney General KK Venugopal had sought more time citing Prime Minister Modi’s busy schedule due to the Karantaka Assembly elections.
The Attorney General argued that the Union Cabinet could not meet due to the ongoing campaigning for the Assembly polls in Karnataka.
Senior advocate Shekhar Naphade, appearing for Tamil Nadu, opposed the AG’s plea and said “this is the fit case for contempt. Somebody has to be sent to jail”.
The apex court had modified the Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal (CWDT) award of 2007 and made it clear that it will not be extending time for this on any ground.
(With Inputs from PTI)