The Supreme Court on Tuesday rejected Karnataka’s petition for a stay on the finalisation of the draft Cauvery water-sharing scheme, PTI reported. The state had cited the government formation that is under way as the reason it needs more time.
The top court said the formation of the draft scheme was the prerogative of the Centre, and not that of the state governments. The court scheduled the next hearing for Thursday, May 17, when it will consider the modified draft scheme.
In February, the court had asked the Centre to set up a Cauvery Water Management Board by March 29, and later extended the deadline to May 3. The Centre, however, told the Supreme Court that it had failed to meet the May 3 deadline because Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the other ministers were busy with the Assembly elections in Karnataka.
On May 8, the Supreme Court had asked the secretary of the Union Water Resources Ministry to appear before it on May 14 with a draft scheme. The court had said that it was “sheer contempt” of the court’s verdict that the Centre had not yet drafted the scheme.
On May 14, the Centre had submitted a draft scheme on the sharing of Cauvery water between Karnataka and Tamil Nadu.
The Cauvery water sharing dispute has been going on for 22 years now. In February, the Supreme Court directed Karnataka to release 177.25 tmcft of Cauvery water per year to Tamil Nadu. This is a reduction from 192 tmcft that the Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal had allotted Tamil Nadu in 2007. Both Tamil Nadu and Karnataka had moved the Supreme Court against the ruling.