New Delhi: Chief Justice N.V. Ramana on Wednesday recused himself from hearing the Krishna River water dispute between Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, after the Andhra counsel said the matter will require legal adjudication as mediation did not work.
On Monday, Justice Ramana had indicated that he would not hear the plea by the AP government alleging that the Telangana government has deprived it of its legitimate share of water for drinking and irrigation purposes and termed it “unconstitutional and illegal”.
Justice Ramana had said: “I don’t want to hear this matter legally. I belong to both the states. If the matter can be settled in mediation, please do that”. He told counsel of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana governments, “We can help with that. Otherwise, I will transfer this to another bench”. The top court had then listed the matter for further hearing on Wednesday.
The AP government on Wednesday informed the top court that it wants legal adjudication as matter could not be resolved through mediation. The Chief Justice recorded the submission of Andhra Pradesh that it does not want mediation to settle Krishna River water dispute and referred the matter to some other bench.
Andhra Pradesh, in its plea, submitted that Telangana is refusing to follow decisions taken in the apex council constituted under the Andhra Pradesh Reorganization Act, 2014, directions of Krishna River Management Board (KRMB) constituted under this Act and directions of the Centre.
The plea cited that under Section 87(1) the board can exercise jurisdiction only in respect of such aspects as are notified by the Centre, but no such notification has been issued so far.
The plea argued that in view of no progress on notification of the jurisdiction of KRMB, Telangana by its acts of commission is seriously affecting the water supply to Andhra Pradesh for irrigation and other purposes.
The plea contended that in Srisailam Dam project, the reservoir’s quantity has seriously depleted on account of use of water there for generation of power in Telangana, which has been established by “daily readings” submitted by dam authorities. The Andhra government said this has caused immense hardship to its people, as availability of water has been seriously prejudiced by depletion in Srisailam Dam project as well as other projects such as the Nagarjuna Sagar Project and the Pulichintala Project.
“More significantly, State of Telangana is clearly in violation of a binding Award, popularly known as “Bachwat Award” made on 31.05.1976 and express provisions of the 2014 Act, whereby State of Andhra Pradesh was bifurcated into Telangana and Andhra Pradesh,” the petition filed through advocate Mahfooz A. Nazki said.
The Andhra government argued that actions of the Telangana government are unconstitutional and in violation of right to life of its people.