SC takes up hearing on Krishna tribunal award

The hearing witnessed heated exchanges between the counsel for the riparian states of Karnataka and Maharashtra on one side and Telangana and Andhra Pradesh on the other.

Published: 19th October 2022 06:20 AM  |   Last Updated: 19th October 2022 06:20 AM   |  A+A-

Senior officials are hopeful that the KRMB or Apex Council will give the approvals within six months.

Krishna River Management Board (KRMB)

Express News Service

BELAGAVI: After a long wait, the hearing on an interim application filed by Karnataka for the publication of the final award passed by the Second Krishna Water Disputes Tribunal (KWDT-II) was taken up by a Supreme Court bench on Tuesday. The hearing witnessed heated exchanges between the counsel for the riparian states of Karnataka and Maharashtra on one side and Telangana and Andhra Pradesh on the other.

Karnataka moved the application in September 2021 for the publication of the final award under Section 6(1) of the Inter State River Water Disputes Act, 1956. Though it was set to be heard in January this year, it was not as Justices DY Chandrachud and AS Bopanna recused themselves, saying they are from the riparian States. The application was subsequently not listed because of Covid-related delays, highly-placed sources said.

On Tuesday, senior advocate appearing for Telangana CS Vaidyanathan submitted that if the award is notified and water at 50 per cent dependability is distributed during the pendency of Special Leave Petitions (SLPs) challenging the validity of the award, Telangana, which is the downstream state, will suffer irreparably. Countering his argument, senior advocate for Karnataka Mohan Katarki submitted that the state has been allocated 174 tmcft of surplus water. Of this, if 65 tmcft is used immediately to irrigate 3.5 lakh hectares of lands under the Upper Krishna Project (UKP-III stage) in drought-prone areas, no prejudice will be caused to downstream states of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh.

Katarki contended that SLPs under Article 136 of the Constitution against the tribunal’s award are permissible only on limited grounds of jurisdictional errors and therefore, the award allocating surplus water to Karnataka is likely to sustain the challenge mounted by Telangana and Andhra Pradesh.

Senior Advocate for Maharashtra Deepak Nargolkar joined Karnataka’s plea and submitted that Telangana and Andhra Pradesh have been dragging the matter for a decade citing one or the other reason and therefore, publication of the award is necessary, the sources added. The SC bench consisting of Justice Surya Kant and Justice JB Pardiwal posted the next hearing to December 6. The final award of KWDT-II was passed on November 29, 2013.



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