The Supreme Court on Monday gave the Centre time till 3 May to submit a draft scheme for the sharing of the Cauvery water between Tamil nadu and Karnakata.
Pulling up the Centre for failing to form the Cauvery Management Board (CMB) within the six-week deadline given to it, the apex court asked why the NDA government brought its questions and doubts over the 16 February judgment at the last moment.
In its judgment, the apex court had directed the Centre to form the CMB by 29 March and increased the share of water for Karnataka while telling the state government to release water to Tamil Nadu as per the order.
Hearing a contempt petition filed by the Tamil Nadu government against the Centre, the SC told Attorney General KK Venugopal, who was appearing on behalf of Centre, that the apex court cannot monitor the implementation of an order throughout the year.
The court also asked the Tamil Nadu and Karnataka governments to maintain peace in their states till the scheme is finalised.
Protests erupted in Tamil Nadu ever since the Centre failed to form the CMB. Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK), the main opposition party, launched agitations in various parts of the state including a shutdown which crippled normal life.
Other opposition parties such as TTV Dinakaran’s Amma Makkal Munnetra Kazhagam (AMMK), too, participated in hunger strikes.
Nearly every party in the state blamed the Tamil Nadu government led by All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) of “bowing” to the Centre.
On Sunday, Tamil superstars including actor-turned-politicians Kamal Haasan and Rajinikanth attended a token silent protest in Chennai demanding the formation of the CMB.
While Haasan said that Cauvery water is the “basic requirement” of the people, Rajinikanth said that the CMB is the “only acceptable solution”. Rajinikanth had on Sunday urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to form the CMB “immediately”.
The Supreme Court had on 2 April agreed to hear the contempt petition filed by AIADMK-led government. The Centre, too, had moved the apex court to seek a clarification and asking for three months for implementing its judgment in view of the May assembly elections in Karnataka. The Congress-ruled state will go to polls on 12 May and results will be announced on 15 May.
In its judgment on 16 February, the Supreme Court reduced Tamil Nadu’s share of Cauvery water and increased Karnataka’s share.
The CMB, once formed, is expected to take control of the dams across river Cauvery through which it will distribute waters to Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Puducherry according to the formula of the Cauvery tribunal.
Tamil Nadu has been demanding creation of the board so that it can be granted the power to open up reservoirs instead of the Karnataka government.