New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Monday modified its September 5 order, asking Karnataka to release a reduced amount of 12,000 cusecs of Cauvery River water per day to Tamil Nadu till September 20 from the earlier 15,000 cusecs a day to ameliorate the plight of farmers of the neighbouring state.
A bench of Justices Dipak Misra and U U Lalit, which sat on a holiday to consider the urgent plea of Karnataka, however, expressed deep anguish over the “tone and tenor” of the fresh plea and said the law and order situation cannot be taken as a ground for non-compliance of the order of the court.
It rejected one of the prayers of Karnataka that the apex court direction asking it to release 15,000 cusecs water per day to Tamil Nadu be kept in abeyance till next date of hearing on the ground that there has been a fault in the Cauvery Water Tribunal award, which does not deal with the issue of deficient water in the reservoir in a particular month.
Referring to the content of Karnataka’s fresh plea, the bench said, “If we are allowed to say then we must say that the tone and tenor of the application is absolutely disturbing and to say the least, totally depricable…that apart the application for modification contain certain averment which follow the tenor or similar language which cannot be conceived of in a court of law seeking modification of an order.”
“Agitation, spontaneity or galvanised riot or any kind of catalytic component can never form the foundation for seeking modification of an order.”
“An order of this court has to be complied by all the concerned and it is the obligation of the executive to ensure that the orders are complied in letter and spirit.”
Protests by farmers have been reported from several parts of Karnataka over the Supreme Court order asking it to release water to Tamil Nadu.
During the hearing, the bench noted the stiff claim and counter-claims of Karnataka and Tamil Nadu and said that it would apply the concept of fair compensation in the matter and fixed it for further hearing on September 20.
The apex court was hearing the application filed by Karnataka seeking a direction to reduce the quantum of water to be released from Cauvery River to Tamil Nadu from 15,000 cusecs to 1,000 cusecs.
The apex court’s decision to hear the plea, filed late Saturday evening, came after it was mentioned before the court’s registry, which consulted Chief Justice T S Thakur.
In its plea, Karnataka has sought modification of the apex court’s September 5 order for release of 15,000 cusecs of water for 10 days as immediate relief to Tamil Nadu farmers.
The Cauvery Supervisory Committee is meeting here today to decide on the quantum of the river’s water to be released to Tamil Nadu and other states. The application has sought that instead of 10 days, the apex court should restrict the release of water to only 6 as the state itself was facing a distress situation due to a massive agitation which was causing a loss of Rs 500 crore per day to Karnataka.
In the plea, Karnataka has said there was “huge public pressure” and the state police, with great difficulty, has been able to prevent attempts to damage public property.
“Even the minimum arrangement mentioned by your lordships has caused distress and havoc in the entire southern part of Karnataka, paralysing civil life. The agitation of farmers has been that their dry crop is equalled with that of the farmers in Tamil Nadu. Tamil Nadu’s need for the rice crop consumes more than twice the water which is needed for light crops in Karnataka,” the application said.
The application says that people, particularly farmers in the districts of Mysuru, Hassan, Mandya and Bengaluru, have been squatting on the roads and streets, affecting the IT industry in the state capital which earns huge revenue by way of income tax, service tax, and foreign exchange of USD 60 billion for the country.
The application also referred to inputs from security agencies that said if the flow of water is allowed to continue further, the situation “may go out of hand”.
In an interim order on September 5, the court had directed Karnataka to release 15,000 cusecs of Cauvery water per day to Tamil Nadu for the next 10 days to ameliorate the plight of the farmers there.
The apex court had also directed Tamil Nadu to approach Supervisory Committee, set up to implement the award of Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal, within three days for release of water as per the final order of the CWDT.