Cauvery row: SC sidesteps Karnataka resolution, but warns against disobeying 6,000 cusecs order

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Sidestepping the potential Constitutional minefield laid by the Karnataka assembly's September 23 resolution not to release water to Tamil Nadu, the Supreme Court today directed the state to release 6,000 cusecs for three days (September 27 - 29). Karnataka has sought modification of the earlier Supreme Court order and told the Bench today that it will be able to release water only in December. A bench comprising Justices Dipak Mishra and U.U Lalit observed that disobedience of the top court's order is no solution in a federal structure.

[Cauvery row: Are we about to witness a constitutional crisis?]

During the course of the arguments, Attorney General of India, Mukul Rohatgi told the court that the Centre would try and find a solution by calling for a meeting of the Chief Ministers of Karnataka and Tamil Nadu. He said the meeting would be convened in the next two days.

SC sidesteps K'taka's Cauvery resolution

The Supreme Court permitted the Centre to convene the meeting and adjourned further hearing on the matter to Friday.

Resolution Sidestepped

When the matter came up for hearing, Karnataka told the court about the resolution it had passed in which it was stated that water would be released only for drinking for Bengaluru and in the Cauvery basin.

To this, the SC warned that disobedience is no solution in a federal structure. Show
bonafide and release 6,000 cusecs of water for three days, the court said.

The Supreme Court said it would not take into account the resolution passed by Karnataka, thus avoiding a confrontation between the court and the legilature of a state. The court then told the senior counsel appearing for Karnataka to tell Chief Minister Siddaramaiah that the orders of the SC better be complied with.

[Setting up Cauvery Management Board: Was SC order in conflict with its own directive?]

In a federal structure like India, no state can say it will not obey the order of the Supreme Court. "You cannot use this to pick up a fight with another state", the Bench observed.

The Centre, while responding to the observations, said that the majesty of the Supreme Court must be respected. Tamil Nadu submitted that it was "fed up" with this unending Cauvery litigation. Karnataka has ensured that this situation has arisen time and again because of its obstructionist and obstinate attitude, Tamil Nadu alleged.

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