The Supreme Court on Thursday cancelled a law passed by the Punjab legislature, which had terminated a water-sharing agreement with five other states through the Sutlej-Yamuna Link Canal. A five-judge bench of the court, which reserved its verdict in the matter for May 12, said the Punjab government could not enact the law, ANI reported.
The court also ordered a status quo on a recent resolution passed by the ruling Shiromani Akali Dal-Bharatiya Janata Party government, through which the Punjab government had denotified the land acquired to construct the canal to return the plots to the farmers. The Centre will now take over the construction of the conduit meant to distribute water among six states – Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Rajasthan and Delhi.
Following the verdict, all Punjab Congress MLAs sent in their resignations to Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee chief Captain Amarinder Singh (pictured above). Singh, too, resigned as an MP to mark his protest against the court verdict, but he said he had asked other parliamentarians to not follow suit. ” I am very disappointed and sad for Punjab because of this verdict,” he said, adding that he had sent his resignation to Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan.
Moreover, Deputy Congress Legislative Party leader Bharat Bhushan said the MLAs will submit their resignations to the the state Assembly Speaker on Friday. Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal said Singh’s decision to resign was drama.
In March, the Punjab Assembly passed the resolution, stating that the government would not allow the construction of the Sutlej-Yamuna Link Canal as it was not in the state’s interests. The move came after the Supreme Court ordered a status quo on the land meant to build the canal, following allegations by Haryana that the land had been levelled so it could not be used for the construction.
The Punjab Assembly elections are scheduled to be held early in 2017.