Cauvery Management Board: Tamil Nadu files contempt petition against Centre, says it willfully disobeyed SC orders

Tamil Nadu government said the Centre had failed to frame a Scheme providing for the constitution of CMB and CWRC within six weeks for the implementation of the decision of the Tribunal.

Published: 31st March 2018 12:41 PM  |   Last Updated: 31st March 2018 03:01 PM   |  A+A-

File image of river Cauvery

Express News Service

CHENNAI:  The Tamil Nadu government today filed a contempt petition against the Central government before the Supreme Court for ‘wilfully disobeying’ the orders of the court in its order dated February 16 for forming Cauvery Management Board (CMB) and Cauvery Water Regulation Committee (CWRC).

The petition, filed under Article 129 of the Constitution read with Section 12 of the Contempt of Courts Act, 1971 for willful disobedience of the direction contained in the judgment dated February
16, said it was constrained to file the contempt petition for protecting the interests of the farmers and the larger interests of the State.

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The State government urged the SC to initiate contempt proceedings against Union Cabinet Secretary  PK Sinha and Union Water Resources Secretary UP Singh for willful disobedience in carrying out the clear mandate set out in the SC verdict dated February 16.

The State government also sought directions to the two respondents “To purge the contempt forthwith by framing a scheme in accordance with the judgment by providing for CMB and CWRC vested with all powers to give effect to the decision of the Cauvery Tribunal as well as the judgment of SC.

Tamil Nadu government said the Centre had failed to frame a Scheme providing for the constitution of CMB and CWRC within six weeks for the implementation of the decision of the Tribunal as modified to a limited extent by the SC. Tamil Nadu government quoted the verdict of the SC, in para 403 as follows:

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“The purpose of framing the scheme is exclusively for implementation of the award. The authorities cited by Mr. Ranjit Kumar, we are afraid, are of no assistance in the present context. It needs no
special emphasis to state that the purpose of Section 6A is to act in the manner in which the award determines the allocation and decides the dispute with regard to allocation or sharing of water. Keeping
that in view, we direct that a scheme shall be framed by the Central Government within a span of six weeks from today so that the authorities under the scheme can see to it that the present decision which has modified the award passed by the Tribunal is smoothly made functional and the rights of the States as determined by us are appositely carried out. When we say so, we also categorically convey that the need based monthly release has to be respected. It is hereby made clear that no extension shall be granted for framing of the scheme on any ground.”

Charging that the Centre had not taken any concrete steps in this regard, Tamil Nadu government said “Belatedly, after a period of three weeks, the Central Government merely convened a meeting of the Chief Secretaries of the Party States on March 9. The convening of such a meeting does not in any way make any substantial progress in the matter of constitution of Cauvery Management Board and Cauvery Water Regulation Committee.”

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During the above meeting, The Tamil Nadu government submitted that this SC’s mandate was to constitute the authorities in terms of the Final Order dated February 5, 2007 passed by the Tribunal and affirmed by the Apex Court. “So  the Central Government is bound to frame a scheme providing for Cauvery Management Board and Cauvery Water Regulation Committee,” the petition added.

Tamil Nadu government had sent letters dated March 13,  21 and 23 requesting for the constitution of CMB and CWRC within the time limit stipulated by the SC so that water is made available to the farmers of Tamil Nadu for the ensuing irrigation season of 2018 commencing from June 1.

“Ensuring timely release of water is apparent in the judgment itself and therefore, any delay in constituting CMB and CWRC is to the prejudice to the farmers of Tamil Nadu,” the petition pointed out.

The Tamil Nadu government also pointed out that the SC had held that ”No extension of time shall be granted on any ground. The period of six weeks expired on March 30 However, till date the Central
government has not complied with the judgment of SC and failed to constitute the Scheme.”

In the absence of any cogent reasons for not constituting CMB and CWRC within the time frame and/ or not making any substantial steps in that directions amounted to willful disobedience of the judgment of SC, Tamil Nadu argued in its petition.


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