New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Monday pulled up the Central government for not framing the 'Scheme' for Cauvery water distribution within the stipulated time and set a deadline of May 3 for submitting the draft scheme.
A bench headed by Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra questioned the Centre why it did not approach the Court before if it had any confusion.
"We don't know why you have not finalised it till date. You better frame it and submit it to us. Why didn't you come to us earlier if you had any confusion?" the bench asked Attorney General KK Venugopal.
Venugopal, citing the clarification application filed by the Central government, said there were divergent views about the purport of the scheme and thus, the top court required to clarify whether the scheme has to be strictly in terms of the order by the Cauvery Water Tribunal.
But the bench retorted that the Tribunal's order was merged with the Supreme Court judgment.
"Why do you talk about the Tribunal's order now? We said a comprehensive scheme and you must frame it. It cannot happen every time. You submit a scheme to us and then we will put our stamp of approval. We will show it to them (Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and other states) and decide. Order of this Court must be implemented," said the bench.
The bench also observed that there will not be a long hearing in this case any more.
"We cannot monitor implementation of our order throughout the year. That is why we said a scheme must be framed. Tamil Nadu must get its water," said the Court.
The Court maintained that the Central government was obligated to comply with the law and frame a scheme to manage distribution of water among the states.
The bench also ordered that competent authorities in Karnataka and Tamil Nadu to ensure peace is maintained in the states.
When Tamil Nadu's lawyer Shekhar Naphade contended that people in the state were anguished at Karnataka for not releasing the water, the bench said it acknowledge the concerns and will make sure that the court orders are strictly implemented.
The bench will hear the case next on May 3 - less than 10 days before Karnataka goes to polls.
Cauvery is a politically sensitive issue and has remained at the centre of politics recently.