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Cauvery Water Management Board: Only Parliament Can Form it, Govt tells SC

The Centre has told the Supreme Court that forming the Cauvery Water Management Board is the sole prerogative of Parliament and that the court can’t order the government on this.

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Updated:October 3, 2016, 12:15 PM IST
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Cauvery Water Management Board: Only Parliament Can Form it, Govt tells SC
A woman (Left) washes clothes in the river Cauvery, or Kaveri, on a cold winter morning in Kushalnagar town, Karnataka and a file photo of Supreme Court (Right) in New Delhi.
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The Centre has told the Supreme Court that forming the Cauvery Water Management Board is the sole prerogative of Parliament and that the court can’t order the government on this.

The Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi informed the SC on Monday that the constitution of the Cauvery Water Management Board requires the consent of both houses of Parliament and that it cannot be formed on the orders of the apex court. The SC will hear the matter on Tuesday.

The Centre's submission has come as a huge relief to Karnataka and Kerala which have been opposing the Board saying that it will take away their rights over the Cauvery reservoirs.

On Friday, a two-member bench of the SC, Justice Deepak Misra and Justice UU Lalith, had ordered the Centre to form the board before October 4 to decide future distribution of Cauvery water among all four riparian states – Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Puducherry. The AG had assured the SC that he would inform the Centre to take note of the order.

Tamil Nadu and Puducherry have already named their representatives to the board. The Karnataka government had opposed the SC order and even refused to nominate its representative to the board, with Kerala also following Karnataka. Former Prime Minister HD Deve Gowda went on a hunger strike on Saturday opposing it. He called it off only after Prime Minister Narendra Modi requested him to end it.

Two weeks ago, the SC had set a deadline of one month to form the board. The Karnataka Assembly has already passed a resolution against the Board saying it would take away Karnataka's right over its dams in Cauvery basin.

The Centre's silence over the issue was severely criticised by all political parties except the BJP in Karnataka. But the state BJP has been openly opposing the SC decision on constitution of the Cauvery Water Management Board. The Centre's latest stand is expected to cool tempers in Karnataka, which is facing a severe drought in Cauvery basin districts this year.

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