Polity & Governance Prelims cum Mains

Karnataka decides to challenge Cauvery water authority in SC

The news:

  • The Karnataka government decided to file an appeal in the Supreme Court against the setting up of the Cauvery Water Management Authority (CWMA) and the Cauvery Water Regulation Committee (CWRC).

 

Background:

Highlights of Supreme Court’s judgment on Cauvery Water (Feb-2018):

  • On water sharing: SC has changed the Cauvery Water Dispute Tribunal (CWDT)’s verdict and allowed Karnataka more share of water.
  • Centre to form scheme:
    • The top court had asked the Centre to formulate a “scheme”, in consonance with the CWDT’s award, for dividing the river’s waters among Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Puducherry.
    • As per scheme, a management board will supervise the reservoir operations and regulate water releases.
    • The board or authority will be an inter-States forum of technical experts with three whole time members appointed by the centre and representatives of the riparian States.

 

Opposition from Karnataka on constitutions of a board:

  • According to the state, the apex court has left the contents of the scheme to the discretion of the Centre.
  • It noted that Tamil Nadu’s contention that Board/Authority, as formulated by the CWDT, should be part of the scheme is “wholly contrary” to the mandate of the judgment and the law.
  • The state is of the opinion that the scheme referred to in the judgment is a “dispute resolution body”, and is distinct from a management or regulatory body recommended by the CWDT.

 

Constitutions of CWMA and CWRC:

  • In line with SC order, recently central government constituted the Cauvery Water Management Authority (CWMA) and Cauvery Water Regulation Committee (CWRC).
  • The authority’s mandate is to monitor the storage, apportion shares, supervise operation of reservoirs and regulate water releases with the assistance of the Regulation Committee.
  • If the Authority finds that any Government of the party States do not cooperate in implementing the decision or direction of the Tribunal, it can seek the help of the Central Government for implementation of the Award of the Tribunal as modified by the Hon’ble Supreme Court.
  • Karnataka had not nominated its representatives, as it opposed any move to form the Authority.

News summary:

Karnataka government’s recent decision:

  • On constitution of CWMA and CWRC:
    • In a all-party meet, the Karnataka government decided to file an appeal in the Supreme Court against the setting up of the CWMA and CWRC.
    • It said that despite the State’s reservations, the Centre had notified and constituted the regulatory committee and authority “in haste.”
    • It further added that according to the Inter-State Water Disputes Act, 1956, such matters should be tabled and deliberated on in the Parliament before constitution of body.
  • On representing to CWMA:
    • Though Karnataka initially had not nominated its representatives to the Authority and the Committee, the meeting also resolved that two senior officials would participate in the CWMA’s first meeting.
    • The nomination is under protest so as to curtail any further damages to the State’s interests.

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