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SC Warns Karnataka Govt of ‘Consequences’ if TN Doesn’t Get Cauvery Water

A bench headed by Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra also pulled up the central government for not framing the water distribution scheme till date, and observed that elections in Karnataka cannot be cited as a reason for delay.

Utkarsh Anand | CNN-News18

Updated:May 3, 2018, 2:58 PM IST
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New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Thursday warned the Karnataka government of "consequences" if it does not release Cauvery water to Tamil Nadu.

A bench headed by Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra also pulled up the central government for not framing the water distribution scheme till date, and observed that elections in Karnataka cannot be cited as a reason for delay.

While asking the Centre to apprise the court of steps it has taken so far, the bench asked the Karnataka government to come back on Tuesday with a categorical statement on how much water it will release for Tamil Nadu.

According to Tamil Nadu, it required 2.5 TMC water each for the months of April and May.

Its lawyer Shekhar Naphade complained that Tamil Nadu was being treated unfairly by the central government, which appeared concerned only about the upcoming polls in the upper riparian state.

When senior lawyer Shyam Divan, appearing for Karnataka, said that no order can be passed without hearing them, the bench shot back: "We will initiate suo motu contempt against you. We will call your chief secretary. You must release water to them for April and May."

It also pulled up the Centre, which was represented through Attorney General KK Venugopal.

"It was your responsibility to frame the scheme. You should have done it by now. Why do you now tell us what states have to say. You don't have to involve them now. Frame a scheme that we will approve," it told Venugopal.

On his part, Venugopal said that Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah has written a letter on April 26, saying water resources ministers of the four riparian states should be members of the Cauvery Board and that no technical members are required.

The AG also said that since the Prime Minister and other Cabinet ministers have been travelling to Karnataka for the elections, the draft scheme has not been approved so far.

But the court made it clear that it was only concerned about submission of the scheme and that the central government must now explain the reasons for delay.

| Edited by: Nitya Thirumalai
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