SC modifies order, now asks Karnataka to give 12,000 daily to TN

New Delhi, Sep 12 (IANS) The Supreme Court on Monday told the Karnataka government to release 12,000 cusecs of Cauvery river water to Tamil Nadu every day till September 20, modifying its earlier order of 15,000 cusecs for 10 days.

A bench of Justice Dipak Misra and Justice Uday Umesh Lalit also rejected Karnataka’s plea to keep the September 5 order in abeyance as the state argued while 15,000 cusecs of water was released every day to Tamil Nadu, it was utilising just 1,250 cusecs.

The court also asked the Karnataka and Tamil Nadu governments to ensure observance of law and order in both states. “Executive of both the States are under the constitutional obligation to see that the law and order prevails,” the bench said.

Noting that the meeting of the Cauvery supervisory committee that would examine Tamil Nadu’s plea for the release of 35 TMC of Cauvery water, as directed by the court, is commencing on Monday and would take time to complete its job, the court directed the next hearing on September 20.

At the outset of the hearing, Justice Misra told senior counsel Fali Nariman, appearing for Karnataka, that the ground of law and order raised by Karnataka could not call for an urgent hearing or for seeking modification of order.

Karnataka had cited the widespread agitation in Bengaluru, Mandya, Mysore and Hasan after September 5 order as grounds for its modification.

Pointing out that the way the application seeking the modification of September 5 order and the affidavit for urgent hearing has been drafted was not a “happy one”, Justice Misra took exception to its “tenor, language and assertion”.

“Do they really call for a modification of an order. To put it in a constitutional frame, the executive has to implement the orders of this court, they can’t put the blame on X,Y,Z, ..” he observed.

Both the affidavit and application “if we allow ourselves to say so, is absolutely disturbing and to say the least, totally deprecable”, said the bench, adding that such an application “cannot be conceived of to be filed in a court of law, seeking modification of an order”.

Terming it the “obligation of the executive that the (top court’s) order is complied with in letter and spirit”, the bench said: “Concept of deviancy has no room; and disobedience has no space.

“The citizens cannot become law unto themselves. When a court of law passes an order, it is the sacred duty of the citizens to obey the same. If there is any grievance, they are obligated under the law to take recourse to permissible legal remedies.”

Accepting the disapproval of Karnataka’s application by the bench, Nariman said he would withdraw it and file a fresh one but urged the court to consider the plea for putting September 5 order in abeyance.

He said that while seeking the release of Cauvery water during the September 5 hearing, Tamil Nadu had said that if Karnataka doesn’t release water then it would “absolutely damage” the “summer crop” leading to an “unacceptable plight” of the farmers.

Noting the court had directed Karnataka to release 15,000 cusecs every day for next ten days while recording “the plight (of the farmer) that has been projected with agony” by Tamil Nadu, Nariman said that in last seven days from September 6, Tamil Nadu has utilised only 1,250 cusecs per day from Mettur Dam, and the plight of the farmer that was projected in the last hearing “is not there, was not there at all”.

Nariman said that total water released So far is more than 10 TMC, but utilisation by Tamil Nadu was less than one TMC.

However, senior counsel Shekhar Naphade appearing for Tamil Nadu told the bench that they needed 50 TMC of water in Mettur Dam to meet the water requirement throughout September and claimed that reservoirs in Karnataka were depleting because they had utilised excess water in June, July and August.

“They (Karnataka) suddenly jacked up their needs (of water) disproportionately” and now “they want premium on that”, he said.

He said that even if Tamil Nadu were to accept that there were deficit rains, then the withdrawal of water has to be scaled down proportionately and same could not be citied as a ground to deny Tamil Nadu its share of water under Cauvery river water award.

–IANS

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