The Supreme Court on Friday rebuked Karnataka for deferring the release of Cauvery water to Tamil Nadu and directed it to release 6,000 cusecs of water between October 1 and October 6. The top court warned the state that it will face the "wrath of law" if it defies the order again, PTI reported. "Karnataka is flouting orders and creating a situation in which the majesty of law is dented," it said.
The apex court also directed the central government to establish a Cauvery Water Management Board by October 4 to study the ground reality in both states to diffuse the tension over the water-sharing dispute. It asked Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Puducherry to submit the names of members for the panel by Saturday, October 1.
The order comes a day after representatives of both states met Union Water Resources Minister Uma Bharti, who asked them to come to a consensus on the matter and approach the court with a solution. Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa, who is in hospital, had nominated Public Works Department Minister Edappadi S Palanisamy and a team of other officials to represent the state, while Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah led his team. At the meeting, Tamil Nadu had alleged that Karnataka had "deliberately and systematically" defied the Supreme Court's orders.
The issue escalated after the Supreme Court directed Karnataka to release 15,000 cusecs of water from the Cauvery river to Tamil Nadu. It later modified its verdict and reduced the quantity to 12,000 cusecs, but the order had led to widespread protests by farmers in Karnataka. They had argued that the state needed the water more that its neighbour.
Tamil Nadu had also held a bandh on September 16, with farmers' and traders' bodies saying Tamilians had been targeted by Kannadiga protestors. Karnataka had also decided to defer releasing Cauvery water to Tamil Nadu, giving priority to the interests of state's people.