The decades-long Cauvery water dispute may soon see a ‘logical conclusion’ as the Supreme Court on Friday approved the Centre's draft Cauvery Management Scheme for smooth distribution of Cauvery river water among Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Puducherry.
A three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra found no merits in the suggestions over the scheme by Karnataka and Kerala governments and rejected them.
Earlier, the top court had made it clear that it would see that the draft scheme is "in consonance with its judgment only." And the bench had red-flagged the provision empowering the Centre to issue the directions, saying, "this part (power of Centre to issue directions) of the scheme is not in consonance with the judgment. We make it clear to you".
The bench, also comprising Justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud, said the Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal's award, which was modified by the top court, has to be taken to a logical conclusion by the Cauvery Management Scheme. It also dismissed Tamil Nadu's plea seeking initiation of contempt against the Centre for non-finalisation of Cauvery scheme.
Cauvery water dispute case: Supreme Court today accepted the amended draft scheme of the Centre pic.twitter.com/1gf3xTmPHc— ANI (@ANI) May 18, 2018
Meanwhile, Karnataka made a failed attempt to temporarily stall the finalisation of draft Cauvery management scheme.
The apex court, in its verdict delivered on February 16, had asked the Centre to frame the Cauvery management scheme, including the creation of the Cauvery Management Board, for the release of water from Karnataka to Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Puducherry.
The scheme, once finalised, would deal with the issue of water share of the four states in different circumstances like normal and deficient water years in the Cauvery river basin.
The top court had modified the Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal (CWDT) award of 2007 and made it clear that it will not be extending the time for this on any ground.
It had raised the 270 tmcft share of Cauvery water for Karnataka by 14.75 tmcft and reduced Tamil Nadu's share, while compensating it by allowing extraction of 10 tmcft groundwater from the river basin, saying the issue of drinking water has to be placed on a 'higher pedestal'.
(With inputs from agencies)