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No freedom of choice for Karnataka on using allocated Cauvery water, TN to SC

New Delhi, Sep 19 (IANS) Tamil Nadu on Tuesday told the Supreme Court that Karnataka can’t have freedom of choice on the use of its share of Cauvery water as it would alter the 2007 Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal award.

The state told the bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra, Justice Amitava Roy and Justice A.M.Khanwilkar that the use of Cauvery water for the purposes other than for which it has been allocated would introduce a fundamental change in the basis of the tribunal award.

“A fundamental change in a situation should provide for the review of the award,” senior counsel Shekhar Naphade, appearing for Tamil Nadu, told the bench, adding that if Karnataka decides to change the use of water, it was “entitled to raise a dispute”

Urging the court that it should frame a scheme for the implementation of the tribunal award which would now merge into top court judgment after it is pronounced, Naphade said: “We have virtually become beggars before Karnataka. I am at the mercy of Karnataka. Even the orders of the Supreme Court have not been complied with.”

His submission came in the course of the hearing of cross-petitions by Tamil Nadu and Karnataka, which have both challenged the tribunal award. Kerala too has challenged the allocation of water by the tribunal.

The Central government, meanwhile, told the top court that it had held back its hand on the implementation of the 2007 Cauvery award as matter was pending before the top court. It said that it would comply with the orders of the court.

At this, the court said that after the pronouncement of judgment, it would give Centre some time to comply with its orders.

The Centre also placed before the top court 12 clarifications that it had sought on the Cauvery Water Dispute Tribunal award including the question of distressed rainy season, distressed situation in basin, conflicting position on use of water and intra basin transfer, duration after which the tribunal award can be reviewed, and other related issues.

The award had come on February 5, 2007 and was gazetted by the Central government on February 19, 2013.

Besides deciding on the sharing of water, the Tribunal had recommended setting up of a Cauvery Management Board and the Cauvery Water Regulation Committee.

The hearing into the 2007 appeal that commenced on February 7 has already taken place on 28 days spread over eight months and will continue on Wednesday.


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