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Cauvery Disputes Tribunal in controversy again

Written by: Staff

New Delhi, May 10: The Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal is once again embroiled in a controversy with the Chairman and two members clashing over the issue of taking the reports of the assessors on record.

CWDT Chairman Justice N P Singh, in his dissenting order, insisted that the Tribunal should give its final decision as early possible as the four parties to the dispute, Kerala, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Pondicherry, had already filed their respective affidavits/statements on April 28, following the directions of the members, Sudhir Narain and N S Rao.

The two members, in their separate majority order of the CWDT, asserted that they proposed to accept the reports submitted to the Tribunal by two of its assessors, Mr J I Gianchandani and S R Sahasrabudhe, and it was the duty of the court to supply a copy of it to the parties concerned, while the Chairman, in his different order, questioned the majority order to the Registry asking it to ''make available the copies of the reports of the assessors forthwith''.

''No such report has been submitted by the assessors which is on record or in the Registry,'' he said, adding circulation of the assessors' advice to the parties would mean that his (Chairman's) own view would be made public which should have been part of the final award.

Justice Singh said the two assessors, appointed under section 4(3) of Interstate Water Dispute Act, had the duty of 'advising' the Tribunal during the proceedings before it. The question of apportionment of waters of an inter-state river being a highly technical subject, so just to facilitate the Tribunal to appreciate different claims made by riparian States, the two assessors were giving their advice to the Tribunal on 'different aspects' of the dispute, especially on technical matters, on the basis of materials on record in different forms, including oral evidence by way of 'notes', to the Tribunal so that it could appreciate technical aspects in proper perspective.

This is not the first time the Chairman and the members are at loggerheads. On April 21 too, the Chairman and the members passed orders publicly differing over the proposal for getting the expert committee, comprising two agronomists and a meterologist, besides the two Tribunal's assessors for determining the water requirements of Cauvery Basins falling within their respective territories.


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