New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Thursday reserved its order on the finalisation of the Cauvery management scheme which will deal with the smooth distribution of water among four southern riparian states.
A bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra said it will consider the suggestions given by all stakeholders while finalising the Cauvery scheme. “We will pronounce the order tomorrow. If that is not possible, then we will pass the order on 22 or 23 May," the bench, also comprising Justices A.M. Khanwilkar and D.Y. Chandrachud, said.
Senior advocate Shyam Divan, appearing for the Karnataka government, on Thursday submitted suggestions to be dealt while finalising the Cauvery scheme. Divan said that Cauvery Water Dispute Tribunal (CWDT) had provided for minimum water to be allowed to remain in the reservoir on behalf of Tamil Nadu and Karnataka to maintain a steady flow of water , adding that, the draft scheme does not deal with this aspect.
Attorney general K.K. Venugopal, appearing for the Centre, told the court that the Union has modified the provision of the scheme that had empowered it to pass directions from time to time with regard to water distribution. The top court had on Wednesday asked the Centre to “rectify" and “modify" certain provision of the draft scheme that authorises the Centre to issue directions “from time to time" on Cauvery water distribution among the four riparian states of Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Puducherry .
The apex court, in its verdict delivered on 16 February, had asked the Centre to frame the Cauvery management scheme, which also included creating the Cauvery Managament Board, within six weeks for release of water from Karnataka to Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Puducherry.
The scheme, once finalised, would deal with the issue of water share of the four states in different circumstances like normal and deficient water years in the Cauvery river basin. The top 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.
It had 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".