Thursday, Sep 05, 2002
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By T. Ramakrishnan
It was the apex court, which, in May 1990, directed the Union Government to constitute the tribunal, a demand Tamil Nadu had been making from as early as 1970.
Subsequently, a legal question arose whether a tribunal, constituted under the Inter-State Water Disputes Act, could pass an interim order or not. In January 1991, the Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal, rejected Tamil Nadu's plea for interim relief. But it was again the Supreme Court which three months later, directed the tribunal to entertain the petition for an interim order. That's how the award was given in June that year.
After the Karnataka Government promulgated an ordinance, nullifying the tribunal's interim order, a Presidential reference was made to the Supreme Court on the validity of the award and the ordinance.
In November 1991, the court ruled that the ordinance was ultra vires the Constitution. It also upheld the validity of the tribunal order and said the award should be published by the Centre in the official gazette. Seeking a direction to Karnataka for executing the interim order, Tamil Nadu, again, went to the court. Even as the case was being heard, the Union Government, in April 1997, submitted that a scheme would be framed for effective implementation of the order. In August 1998, it was finalised and the Cauvery River Authority constituted.
However, as Tamil Nadu was not getting Cauvery water as prescribed by the Tribunal during the current irrigation year too, the Government and the Tamil Nadu Neerpasana Vilaiporulgal Vivasayigal Nala Urimai Padhugappu Sangam approached the Supreme Court in July. In response, the court ruled that the CRA and the monitoring committee meet and decide the matter.
But, the meetings did not yield any fruit.
When it was informed of the deliberations, the court yesterday directed Karnataka to release 1.25 tmcft to Tamil Nadu every day until the CRA took a decision on a distress-sharing formula.
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