New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Friday agreed to next week hear the Centre's plea seeking two more weeks to finalise the draft Cauvery management scheme, saying discussions were being held at various levels, including the political executives.
A bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices D Y Chandrachud and Indu Malhotra said it will hear the matter on May 3, on a plea being mentioned by a counsel for Centre.
The Centre in its plea said "the applicant states and submits that after the aforesaid order dated April 9, passed by the court, steps are being taken in right earnest in finalising the draft scheme to be placed before this court and for the said purpose detailed discussions are held at various levels with law officers, technical officers and administrative officers of the Government of India".
It said "discussions are also on way between the political executives".
The Centre said that the formalisation of a draft scheme was at an advanced stage and is likely to take approximately two more weeks to enable the government place the draft scheme before the court.
It said that keeping the time schedule fixed by the court in mind, actions were being taken expeditiously.
"However, any action taken in haste may frustrate the very object, intent and purpose of the judgement passed by the court and therefore it is not only desirable but in larger interest of justice that this court may be pleased to grant extension by two weeks, by permitting to place draft scheme before this court on or after May 16," the Centre said.
The elections to the Karnataka assembly are slated on May 12 and counting of votes on May 15.
On April 9, the apex court had asked the Centre to frame a draft scheme and file it by May 3 for implementation of its judgement on distribution of water among Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and other states.
It had asked the Tamil Nadu and Karnataka governments to ensure that peace prevails till it finalises the Cauvery management scheme for implementation of its judgment on water distribution.
The top court was however critical of the fact that despite a specific direction on the setting up of the scheme within six weeks, the Centre has been unable to do so.
It had said the court had considered the award of the Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal (CWDT) while deciding the water share of Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Kerala and Puducherry in its judgement.
Concurring with the grievances of Tamil Nadu, it had said the entire judgment has to be complied with by all the stakeholders.
It had said once the Centre places the draft scheme, which would also include Cauvery Water Management Board and Monitoring Authority, it would consider the grievances of all the stakeholder states.
The apex court, in its verdict, had asked the Centre to formulate a scheme to ensure compliance of its 465-page judgement on the decades-old Cauvery dispute. It had modified the CWDT award of 2007 and made it clear that it will not be extending time for this on any ground.
The top court had on February 16 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 the apex court's verdict, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Kerala and Union Territory of Puducherry would be annually entitled to 404.25 tmcft, 284.75 tmcft, 30 tmcft and 7 tmcft of Cauvery water respectively out of the total of 740 tmcft.