The Supreme Court on Monday directed the Centre to notify the final award of the Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal (CWDT) dated February 5, 2007. It rapped the government for abdicating its responsibility in not notifying the award as per the mandate of the Inter State River Water Disputes Act.
When Additional Solicitor General Harin P. Raval sought further time for the Centre to decide whether to notify the ‘final decision’ or not, a Bench of Justices R.M. Lodha, J. Chelameswar and Madan B. Lokur rejected the plea. The court ordered the government to notify the final award on or before February 20.
Earlier, Mr. Raval said the Karnataka government had communicated to the Government of India that it would need orders from the functionaries concerned and communicate the same to the Centre but it had not been done so far.
Justice Chelameswar told Mr. Raval: “You [Centre] have abdicated your responsibility. You are not here to facilitate an agreement between the parties when they themselves have told this court that they have no objection for notifying the award.”
Justice Lokur asked Mr. Raval, “Suppose no decision comes from Karnataka for one year, will you not take any decision. You are supposed to take action in furtherance to our orders.” Justice Lodha told the ASG: “Don’t abdicate your responsibility. Sorry, this is not the way the government should function. There is no justification for the delay even after the disputing States had stated they have no objection for notifying the award. The disputing States have not approached this court resiling from their stand. While so, you have no justification to delay the notification.” Justice Lokur said that “when something is stated in the court, there has to be some sanctity for it, we proceed on that basis.”
The Bench, in its brief order, said: “The final decision was given by the CWDT on February 5, 2007. The final decision has not been notified so far. On January 4, 2013, this court noted the agreement of concerned States that they did not have any objection to the final decision by CWDT being notified without prejudice to their rights and contentions raised in the pending appeals. This court also noted the statement of Mr. H.P. Raval, Additional Solicitor General that the final decision by the Central government for publication is expected by January 31, 2013.”
The Bench said: “ … we are of the view that there was no necessity of entertaining any further request from Karnataka insofar as publication of the final decision by CWDT was concerned as Karnataka had expressly stated before this court that it does not have any objection to the final decision by CWDT being notified.”