The Union Government has moved the Supreme Court seeking three-month extension for implementing its February 16 order on division of Cauvery river of waters between Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Puducherry. Pointing out that the Karnataka Assembly elections were coming, the Centre said that Cauvery being “an emotional” issue in the state, any move at this point to constitute a scheme under Section 6A of the Inter State River Water Disputes Act 1936 and notify it may “hinder election process and provoke serious law and order problems”. It recalled that in the past, the issue had caused serious law and order problems, and loss of lives and property.
In its response, the Tamil Nadu government initiated contempt proceedings against the Centre for “willful disobedience” in carrying out the “clear mandate” set out by the Supreme Court which, in its order of February 16, had sought framing of the scheme for constitution of the Cauvery Management Board (CMB) and the Cauvery Water Regulation Committee within six weeks.
Tamil Nadu said that it had filed the petition to “protect the interests of the farmers and the larger interests of the State”. “The Central Government was duty bounds to take steps to facilitating implementation of the judgment by itself deciding and taking necessary action to constitute the machinery as per the mandate..,” Tamil Nadu’s petition stated.
The Centre brought to the court’s notice efforts made by it to comply with the February 16 order, referring to a meeting of the Chief Secretaries and other senior officers of the three states and the Union territory.
However, the Tamil Nadu government petition said: “Belatedly, after a period of three weeks, the Central Government merely convened a meeting of the Chief Secretaries of the Party States. The convening of such a meeting does not in any way make any substantial progress in the matter of constitution of Cauvery Management Board and Cauvery Water Regulation Committee.”