The Supreme Court on Monday granted time until Wednesday to Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Karnataka and the UT of Puducherry to respond to the Cauvery draft scheme under Section 6A of the Inter-State River Disputes Act of 1956 filed by the Centre, in pursuance of the court judgment dated February 16.
In compliance of its order dated May 8, UP Singh, Secretary, Ministry of Water Resources, River Development & Ganga Rejuvenation, Government of India, appeared in person before the bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra with the draft scheme.
When Attorney General KK Venugopal sought to submit that the scheme is due to be approved by the Cabinet, the Chief Justice remarked, “We cannot have another round of litigation...Section 6A requires a scheme...it is mandatory...”
The AG also raised the issue of the nomenclature of the entity to be established under the scheme: “It could be ‘Authority’ or ‘committee’...Your Lordships could decide...”
Senior counsel Shekhar Naphade, appearing on behalf of the state of Tamil Nadu, advanced, “Whatever has to be done may be done within this courtroom before Your Lordships...we (the states) only have locus to check if the scheme is in consonance with the (February 16) judgment...”
The Chief Justice clarified that the bench shall not venture into the correctness of the scheme, directing that the states concerned may examine the scheme only to confirm that it is in accordance with the judgment.
On February 16, the Supreme Court had passed verdict on an appeal moved by Karnataka against the 2007 award of the tribunal and modified the award while directing Karnataka to release 177.25 TMC water to Tamil Nadu instead of 192 TMC as ordered by the Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal (CWDT). The bench headed by CJI Dipak Misra also directed the Centre to frame a scheme under Section 6A of the Act of 1956 within six weeks so that the authorities under the scheme can see to it that its decision which has modified the award passed by the tribunal is “smoothly made functional”.