Punjab on Thursday suffered a serious setback as the Supreme Court held as unconstitutional the 2004 law passed by it to terminate the Sutlej-Yamuna Link (SYL) canal water sharing agreement with neighbouring states.
"All the questions have been answered in the negative," a five-judge bench headed by Justice A R Dave said, while pronouncing its decision on the presidential reference received by it.
The judgement makes it clear that the Punjab Termination of Agreements Act, 2004 is "unconstitutional" and Punjab could not have taken a "unilateral" decision to terminate the water sharing agreement with Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Rajasthan, Jammu and Kashmir, Delhi and Chandigarh.
The bench, which also included Justices P C Ghose, Shiva Kirti Singh, A K Goel and Amitava Roy, was unanimous in holding that all the five questions of Presidential reference have to be answered in the negative.
Thursday's judgement implies that the 2004 Act was not in consonance with the apex court judgement of 2003 which had mandated the construction of the SYL canal that has been stalled.