NEW DELHI: Taking a grim look at the Centre’s delaying tactics on the Cauvery water dispute, the Supreme Court on Tuesday directed Union Water Resources Secretary to appear in person on May 14 with a draft scheme to implement its directions.
A three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra also pulled up the Centre for not respecting its verdict. The SC had on February 16 directed the governemnt to frame the Cauvery management scheme to share water between the four riparian states of Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Kerala and Puducherry.
The bench’s observation came after Attorney General K K Venugopal said the Union Cabinet could not meet to approve the draft scheme as the ministers, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi, were busy with Karnataka election campaign. He said the government needs 10 more days to do the “finishing touches” to the draft scheme.
Taking exception to this, the bench said, “You (Centre) are in sheer contempt... We do not want to come back to square one. Once the judgment has been delivered, it has to be implemented.”
During the hearing, senior advocate Shekhar Naphade appearing for Tamil Nadu said the state is facing acute water shortage but not getting its due share. “We are being taken for a ride by the Centre. Are we waiting for the votes to be cast on May 12 (in Karnataka)?” he asked.
This led Venugopal to say, “Even if we constitute the board, it won’t give you water.” To this, Naphade responded, “See, now the cat comes out. This is the real habit of the Central government. They are going to form a toothless body.”
The bench intervened at this point saying, “We must understand the purpose behind framing the (Cauvery management) scheme. It is for implementation of the order.”