Karnataka, TN cannot challenge Cauvery Tribunal Order, says Centre

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Bengaluru, Oct 19: The Supreme Court on Wednesday will hear and decide on the maintainability of the appeals filed by Karnataka and Tamil Nadu against the award of the Cauvery Waters Tribunal passed on Feb 5, 2007.

While both states have told the Supreme Court that the award of the tribunal cannot be implemented, the Centre says that the appeals are not maintainable. The Union Government contends that the decision of an inter-state water tribunal is considered as a decree passed by the Supreme Court.

Cauvery: SC to hear K'taka, TN appeals

Under Article 262 (1) and (2) of the Constitution, the power of the Supreme Court is eclipsed after the Tribunal, formed under the Inter-State River Water Disputes Act, 1956 has adjudicated over the issue. Such decisions cannot be challenged, the centre also said.

The tribunal in its final award had determined the usable quantum of water of the Cauvery at 740 tmcft. Karnataka is entitled to 270 tmcft, Tamil Nadu to 419 tmcft, Kerala 30 tmcft, Puducherry 7 tmcft and 14 tmcft is meant for environmental purposes, the tribunal had said.

Also read: Cauvery Row: Keep the water flowing, 2000 cusecs a day, to Tamil Nadu, SC tells Karnataka

Karnataka, however, contends that it had challenged the award before the same was published on February 19, 2013. The contention made by Karnataka was supported by Puducherry, which has also challenged the award of the tribunal.

A bench comprising Justices Dipak Mishra, Amitava Roy and Khanwilkar observed that the power of a judicial review cannot be taken away. How the power of the Supreme Court should be understood and applied in terms of Article 262 should be determined, the Bench also observed.

On Tuesday, the Supreme Court directed Karnataka to release 2,000 cusecs of water daily to Tamil Nadu till maintainability of the appeals filed both by Karnataka and Tamil Nadu is decided.

The Bench, however, took a serious note of the protests and violence on the Cauvery issue. The Bench said both states should ensure that law and order is maintained. Citizens must show mutual respect, the bench also observed.

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