New Delhi: The Central government on Friday mentioned that it has moved an application in the Supreme Court for a two-week extension of time to frame a Cauvery water sharing ‘scheme’.
On April 9, a three-judge Bench led by Chief Justice of India (CJI) Dipak Misra ordered the Centre to frame a scheme as per its February 16 judgment in the Cauvery dispute. It categorically said that the Centre, by drafting a scheme by May 3, should prove its bona fide intention to resolve the 200-year-old inter-State water dispute, starting from between the erstwhile Madras Presidency and Kingdom of Mysore and now Tamil Nadu and Karnataka.
“Our order stands,” the CJI curtly told the Centre’s counsel. He then said the application would be taken up on May 3, as scheduled.
Karnataka faces Assembly elections on May 12.
On April 9, the court voiced suspicion about the Centre’s resolve to play its crucial part in ending the conflict between the two States.
A February 16 order of the court directed the Centre to frame a scheme by March 29. Yet, on the eve of the deadline, the Union government moved court for another three months time to frame a scheme. This would have taken it well past the Karnataka Assembly polls.
‘Resolve to frame a scheme’
“You are bound by our decree… you are obliged to frame a scheme. We are surprised that it was not done… We have delivered the judgment after much study and difficulty… yet you did not show the resolve to frame the scheme,” the CJI addressed Attorney General K.K. Venugopal, for the Centre.
Tamil Nadu counsel and senior advocate Shekhar Naphade had pithily pointed out that in India, litigation starts after the court decree.
“Absolutely right. Now you [Centre] must show your bonafide by framing a scheme… you should show respect to the principle of distribution of water…. Let the draft scheme be filed before the court… you [the States] can give your suggestions… When the scheme comes into effect, it will become binding,” the CJI had said.
The court was primarily hearing a contempt petition filed by Tamil Nadu against the Centre.
The Bench had asked the people of both States to maintain peace “so that the court can put its stamp on the scheme”.
Tamil Nadu has accused the Centre of not “protecting the interests of the farmers and the larger interests of the State”.