NEW DELHI: The Centre has submitted a draft of the Cauvery management scheme for implementation of the Supreme Court's February 16 judgment for sharing the river's water. The SC said it won't go into the correctness of the draft Cauvery scheme framed by the government and will examine only one issue, which is, whether the scheme conforms to its judgment of February 16. “We need to examine whether draft Cauvery scheme submitted by Centre is in consonance with our judgment,” the bench said. It fixed May 17 as the next day of hearing.
The Centre, while submitting the draft scheme, said it faced a dilemma about the nomenclature of the body that will be entrusted the task of supervising the sharing of Cauvery water as per SC's verdict. It said it was unsure whether to call the supervising body a Board, Authority, or Committee. Attorney General KK Venugopal said the Centre would leave nomenclature to the court. The SC had strongly rapped the Centre for not framing the Cauvery management scheme to implement its verdict on river water sharing between four southern states, even as Tamil Nadu attacked the union government for its “partisan” attitude saying this was the “end of cooperative federalism”.
The Centre had, meanwhile, told the top court that Cabinet approval for the scheme could not be obtained since Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his cabinet colleagues were busy. The SC Had raised the 270 tmcft share of Cauvery water for Karnataka by 14.75 tmcft on February 16, and reduced Tamil Nadu's share, while compensating it by allowing extraction of 10 tmcft groundwater from the river basin, saying the issue of drinking water has to be placed on a “higher pedestal”.
Last week, the Supreme Court had said the Centre was “in sheer contempt of this court”, for disobeying its order to frame a Cauvery water sharing scheme by March 30. It ordered the water resources secretary to be present in court with the scheme's draft at the bench comprising CJI Dipak Misra and Justices AM Khanwilkar and DY Chandrachud. Tamil Nadu's counsel Shekhar Naphade said the Centre was taking the state and the court for a ride by playing politics. Naphade said, “Someone should go to jail for this deliberate disobedience.” He also made a crack at Modi, saying, “People of Tamil Nadu are facing water crisis and here is someone in the government who boasts that he works 24/7 for the welfare of citizens.”