Importance for Exams

  • Mains : Understand the issue, why is it not resolved yet. Steps taken this year. why they are expected to yield better results compared to the past.
  • Prelims : Make a note of the institutional framework(composition, functions,etc) involved : Provisions of Art. 262, ISWD Act, CRA, CMC, CSC and the newly proposed CRMB.

In News

The Kaveri River water dispute between Karnataka and Tamil Nadu(TN) has been lingering on for decades. It crops up whenever there is scanty rainfall leading to shortage of water in Kaveri.
This year, Kaveri has seen lesser monsoon rains leading to four main reservoirs in its Karnataka basin being partially full. The situation forced Karnataka to turn on it’s commitment of water sharing leading to resentment from TN.

Timeline

25 August : Citing a bad monsoon, Karnataka govt announced, it was not in a position to release the TN share of water forcing TN to approach the supreme court.
5 September : Supreme Court directs Tamil Nadu to approach the Cauvery Supervisory Committee(CSC). CSC asks for data, delays ruling.
19 September : Cauvery Supervisory Committee asked Karnataka to release 3,000 cusecs per day from September 21 to 30.
20 September : SC doubled the quantum to 6,000 cusecs from September 21 to 27. directed the centre to constitute within four weeks the Cauvery Water Management Board(CWMB) as directed by Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal(CWDT) in its 2007 award.
Riots follow.

Core Issues

Historical water use : Since the ancient times, TN had been an agrarian state with more area under agriculture than karnataka. Hence it has depended more on Kaveri. This is the reason why TN has always pushed for a lion’s share and has been awarded one by various tribunals. Karnataka is opposed to this line of thought.
Present dependence : Karnataka farmers are unhappy because their share of water allows them to grow 1 paddy crop + 2nd less water-intensive crop while their counterparts in TN grow 3 crops a year. Karnataka finds it grossly unfair to release water for Tamil Nadu farmers who want to sow their 2nd crop while its own farmers struggle with the first.

Ref : http://indianexpress.com/article/explained/cauvery-water-dispute-karnataka-tamil-nadu-supreme-court-3019228/

The Deadlock

The reasons for the deadlock are as follows
1. Institutional failure
– This issue raises the larger question of the effectiveness of the constitutional provisions of Art 262 relating to Inter-state river water disputes and the Inter-state Water Disputes Act, 1956. River water disputes across India suffer from deadlock.
– CRA and CMC. CRA is political body with no experts. CMC plays a supportive role to the CRA. Neither Karnataka nor Tamil Nadu has endorsed the role and function of these bodies.

Ref : http://www.frontline.in/static/html/fl1919/19190090.htm

2. Politicization of the issue
The issue has been blown out of proportion for political gains in respective states. It’s very important that the role of politicians and courts come down in deciding technical issues like these and the advice rendered by technocrats is given more importance.
The proposed Cauvery River Management Board (CRMB) tries to address this issue by having technocrats at decisions making level.

CM Karnataka Interview

Way forward

Cauvery River Management Board (CRMB)
– The Board will take decisions on water usage and distribution.
– The Board will also see to it that states ensure proper hydraulic structures at relevant sites.
– It will determine the amount of water to be received by the states

The idea is to cut down the dependence on monsoon. The board will ensure adequate storage in the reservoirs before the monsoons till the end of May each year. in case monsoons are delayed, the stored water can help minimize distress.
In case of consecutive bad years, the Board will handle the issue appropriately by distributing water in a planned manner with minimum distress.

Ref : http://www.oneindia.com/india/explained-how-will-cauvery-management-board-work-2214962.html

http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/cauvery-management-board-will-have-representatives-from-karnataka-tn-cwc/article9132098.ece

Historical Developments

Only to help you understand the current issue better. Depth not required.

1892 : Agreement between Madras Presidency and Mysore.
1924 : 2nd Agreement under the supervision of GoI.
1970 : fact-finding committee appointed.
1990 : Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal (CWDT)is set-up under under the Inter-state Water Disputes Act, 1956.
Interim orders passed in 1991, 1992 and 1995.
1998 : Kaveri River Water Scheme notified by the govt. consisting of Cauvery River Authority (CRA) and Cauvery Monitoring Committee (CMC).
2007 : After 16 years, it announces its award.
Its distribution is as follows
– Tamil Nadu -419 tmc ft
– Karnataka – 270 tmc ft
– Kerala – 30 tmc ft
– Puducherry – 7 tmc ft
This award is challenged by the states. Special Leave Petitions were filed and the Court granted leave.
2013 : On the direction of the Supreme Court, Govt notified the final reward as proposed by the Tribunal in 2007.

 


RSTV Debates

Any doubts?


  1. Profile photo of Er S Er S

    @vijay-karthik : I don’t see any bias. If any perspective missing, please contribute. They will be included.
    Dont indulge in vague criticism.

  2. Profile photo of Vijay Karthik Vijay Karthik

    this article is paid article from Karnataka and the author has exhibited partiality.

1892 Cauvery pact an unequal bargain

  1. Context: Hearing of appeals filed by Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Kerala against the final award on the Cauvery Water Dispute Tribunal’s decision on water sharing
  2. Karnataka: The 1892 agreement between the erstwhile Mysore and Madras Governments was an “unconscionable bargain” to share the Cauvery river water
  3. Both the 1892 and 1924 pacts between the then princely State of Mysore and the Madras government reflected an “inequality of bargaining power” which was “without conscience” and which could claim no validity after the birth of the Indian Constitution
  4. Irrigation infrastructure: The 1892 agreement, which was the parent of the 1924 pact, dictated that Mysore could not develop any irrigation infrastructure on the river without the previous consent of the Madras government. Any grievances could be addressed only through arbitration
  5. The same issue was addressed in 2002 before the Cauvery tribunal, when Tamil Nadu had countered that the 1892 agreement was preceded by a good deal of mutual consideration of the interests of both the Madras presidency and the Mysore State
  6. Tamil Nadu had in 2002 argued that the agreement was a result of a mutual realisation for a pact which would allow Mysore reasonable freedom in dealing with its irrigation works and also give Madras practical security against injury to its interests

Note4students:

The water sharing issue is very important for mains. Map the location of rivers, their course etc. Mains 2016 had an essay- ‘Water disputes between States in federal India‘. Such info is necessary for topics like these.

SC verdict on jurisdiction to hear States’ appeals in Cauvery dispute tomorrow

  1. What: The SC on Friday will give a verdict
  2. Issue: On whether or not the Parliament can shackle the SC’s constitutional powers to hear the appeals filed by TN, Karnataka and Kerala against the Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal final award in 2007
  3. The Centre argued that the parliamentary law of Inter-State Water Disputes Act of 1956 coupled with Article 262 (2) of the Indian Constitution excluded the SC from hearing or deciding any appeals against the Cauvery Tribunal’s decision
  4. It argued that the tribunal takes on the mantle of the SC, and its award should be treated as the latter’s judgment
  5. Hence, any appeal to the SC against the tribunal award would mean going against the SC’s decision
  6. All 3 States have opposed the Centre’s stand, contending that a parliamentary law cannot stop the SC from exercising its constitutional power to hear appeals
  7. According to them, judicial review is part of the basic structure of the Constitution

Note4students:

The Cauvery dispute has been running for a long time now. It is a source of tension between neighboring states and highlights important issues relating to water disputes in India. It is important for mains.

Back2basics:

1. River waters use / harnessing is included in the states jurisdiction (entry 17 of state list, Schedule 7 of Indian Constitution). However, the union govt can make laws on regulation and development of inter-State rivers and river valleys when expedient in the public interest (entry 56 of union list, Schedule 7 of Indian Constitution).

2. Article 262 – Adjudication of disputes relating to waters of inter State rivers or river valleys
(1) Parliament may by law provide for the adjudication of any dispute or complaint with respect to the use, distribution or control of the waters of, or in, any inter State river or river valley
(2) Notwithstanding anything in this Constitution, Parliament may by law provide that neither the Supreme Court nor any other court shall exercise jurisdiction in respect of any such dispute or complaint as is referred to in clause (1) Co ordination between States.

Continue release of 2,000 cusecs to TN till further orders, SC tells Karnataka

  1. A three-judge Bench, extended its October 4, 2016 order, directing Karnataka to release 2000 cusecs a day to Tamil Nadu
  2. This interim arrangement would continue till the court gives further orders
  3. Centre view: The Attorney-General submitted that the SC had no jurisdiction to entertain these appeals
  4. This is because the 2007 tribunal award was final under Article 262 of the Constitution and provisions of the Inter-State River Water Disputes Act, 1956
  5. Karnataka view: Parliament cannot curtail the Supreme Court’s powers to render justice

Cauvery panel tells Supreme Court of drought, debt II

  1. More findings: Many of them have been pushed to committing suicide due to financial burden.
  2. Farmers are suffering for drinking water and irrigation water since available ground water is not suitable
  3. In Karnataka, the team found that a large number of suicides were reported from Mandya district
  4. In Tamil Nadu: Farmers have sought the constitution of the Cauvery Management Board
  5. In Karnataka: The government had declared 42 out of 48 talukas under Cauvery basin as drought affected based on Central Government guidelines

Cauvery panel tells Supreme Court of drought, debt I

  1. Source: A SC-appointed High Level Technical Team report to the SC
  2. Findings: The parched Cauvery basin is a big reason for farmers’ suicides and mass migrations in Tamil Nadu and Karnataka,.
  3. The ground realities of the Cauvery delta region include drought and rising unemployment
  4. The bore wells are dug to a 1000-feet deep and there is withering of acres of crops in both States
  5. Agriculture laborers have been migrating from delta districts of Tamil Nadu

Draft Water Bill suggests basin-level management- II

  1. Right: Every person has a ‘right to sufficient quantity of safe water for life’ within easy reach of the household
  2. This is regardless of caste, creed, religion, age, community, class, gender, disability, economic status, land ownership and place of residence
  3. States should ensure that water is conserved
  4. Also stresses on Centre and States working in partnership for managing water
  5. Insti: Proposes establishing institutional arrangements at all levels within a State and beyond up to an inter-State river basin level
  6. Aim: To ‘obviate’ disputes through negotiations, conciliation or mediation before they become acute
  7. Challenge: Water being a State subject, the Bill will not be binding on States for adoption

Draft Water Bill suggests basin-level management- I

  1. Context: Several inter-State disputes over river water sharing
  2. Bill: Centre has brought final draft of the National Water Framework Bill, 2016
  3. Provisions: It stresses managing water at basin-level and right measurement of State’s contribution to river system to resolve conflicts
  4. Pitches for establishing River Basin Authority for each inter-State basin to ensure optimum and sustainable development of rivers and valleys
  5. Public trustees: It suggests States to recognise the principle that the rivers are not owned by the basin-States but are public trustees
  6. All basin States have equitable rights over a river water ‘provided such use does not violate the right to water for life’ of any person in the river basin

Cauvery board formation put off, SC gives nod for ‘technical team’

  1. SC put on hold its order to constitute the Cauvery Management Board (CMB)
  2. It finally settled for the Centre’s suggestion to appoint a technical team to visit the Cauvery basin and report back on the ground reality there
  3. Meanwhile, as an interim arrangement, a Bench ordered Karnataka to release 2,000 cusecs of water from October 7 to 18

SC cannot order setting up CMB

  1. The Supreme Court had ordered that the Cauvery Management Board to be set up on October 4, inspect the 80,000 sq km Cauvery basin and submit a report by October 6
  2. However, Centre submitted that the order to constitute the CMB cannot be complied with
  3. Why? While the CMB was recommended by the Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal in its final order in 2007, the tribunal award itself was under challenge in the Supreme Court

Karnataka starts release of water, ends defiance of SC

  1. Following a unanimous resolution in the State legislature, Karnataka ended its defiance of the Supreme Court’s orders
  2. It started the release of 6,800 cusecs of water for irrigation purposes from the Krishna Raj Sagar dam & a large portion of this water is expected to reach Tamil Nadu
  3. The move comes in the wake of the SC’s observation, warning Karnataka not to invite the wrath of the court and asking it to release 6,000 cusecs a day from October 1 to 6

Supreme Court gives last chance to Karnataka to release Cauvery water

  1. SC has given Karnataka a last chance to release 6000 cusecs of Cauvery water to Tamil Nadu between October 1, 2016 and October 6, 2016 before the ‘wrath of law falls on the State’
  2. KWMB: It simultaneous asked the Centre to set up the Cauvery Water Management Board by October 4
  3. Purpose: So that the Board can visit the Cauvery sites to check the ground realities
  4. It slammed Karnataka for flouting its orders and creating a situation by which the majesty of law is dented
  5. Invoked its limitless powers under Article 144 of the Indian Constitution to enforce its orders
  6. A144: All authorities in the territory of India are bound to obey the orders of the Supreme Court and render assistance and aid for the implementation of the orders of this court

Legislature can’t overrule decision- Mullaperiyar case

  1. Flashback: Constitution Bench judgement in the Mullaperiyar dam case (May 2014)
  2. What? The Bench had quashed a State law promulgated by the Kerala Legislature to defy a Supreme Court order
  3. The law had allowed water level in the dam to be increased from 136 feet to 142 feet in favour of Tamil Nadu
  4. The judgement: The legislature, cannot by a bare declaration, directly overrule, reverse or override a judicial decision
  5. Separation of Powers: A law enacted by the legislature may apparently seem to be within its competence
  6. But yet in substance if it is shown as an attempt to interfere with the judicial process, such law may be invalidated being in breach of doctrine of separation of powers

The authority of SC over water disputes- former judges’ perspective- II

  1. Context: The resolution passed by the two Houses of Karnataka on September 23 to deny Tamil Nadu Cauvery water against SC order
  2. Justice K.S. Radhakrishnan: The SC’s mandate to be the final arbiter of inter-State water disputes is derived from the Indian Constitution itself, and not even the Parliament
  3. The Constitution makers gave the SC this power to prevent a situation by which one State will pass a resolution against the other and a constitutional crisis will ensue

The authority of SC over water disputes- former judges’ perspective- I

  1. Context: The resolution passed by the two Houses of Karnataka on September 23 to deny Tamil Nadu Cauvery water against SC order
  2. Justice K.T. Thomas: The resolution is only to fit to be kept in the records of the Karnataka Legislature and has no authority
  3. At best, it can be treated as an expression of opinion or a criticism of the Supreme Court order
  4. Everyone has the right to criticise a court order, but the SC is the final authority in resolving inter-State water disputes
  5. Under Article 144 of the Constitution, the Supreme Court could even call summon the services of the Army to aid it in implementing a judicial order

Karnataka Assembly resolution on Cauvery dispute has no value: former SC judges

  1. Context: The resolution passed by the two Houses of Karnataka on September 23 to deny Tamil Nadu Cauvery water
  2. Former SC judges: It is merely an ill-advised misadventure
  3. The resolution is no match for the constitutional might of the Supreme Court as the final and sole arbiter of Inter-State and Inter-State water disputes
  4. Background: Earlier, SC had ordered Karnataka to release 6000 cusecs of water per day
  5. But then Karnataka assembly passed resolution to deny water to Tamil Nadu
  6. Later SC had even refused to entertain Karnataka’s objections against releasing 6,000 cusecs of Cauvery water to Tamil Nadu for three days

What judges say does not become law: Siddaramaiah

  1. Striking a defiant note, Karnataka CM that he was yet to read the Supreme Court order on releasing Cauvery water to Tamil Nadu
  2. Also that the priority is for drinking water according to our national water policy (2012), so the SC verdict to release water does not become a law or an order immediately

Solving water dispute- a water security perspective

  1. According to Central Water Commission Chair, we must emphasize on water storage and its conservation for resolving such crisis
  2. We cannot think of bringing water security unless we are able to create enough capacity for its storage and release it as per requirement

Management board an ideal option to end Cauvery impasse: CWC chief

  1. Context: Cauvery river water dispute- The Supreme Court order and consequences
  2. SC has directed the Centre to constitute within four weeks a Cauvery water management board as directed by the Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal in its award
  3. It will have representatives from both Karnataka and Tamil Nadu
  4. SC also directed the Karnataka government to release 6,000 cusecs of Cauvery water a day to Tamil Nadu till September 27

Which of the following are tributaries of River Cauvery?

1- Hemavati
2- Noyyal
3- Amaravati River

A) 1 & 2 only B) 1 & 3 only C) All of the above D) None of the above

Plea in SC seeks action against fringe elements

  1. Context: The SC order to Karnataka release Cauvery water to Tamil Nadu and subsequent violence and incitement of regional parochial sentiments
  2. What? Supreme Court agreed to urgently hear a petition seeking a judicial direction to the governments of Karnataka and Tamil Nadu to control and act against the fringe elements which orchestrated violence in both States
  3. Infringement of rights: Widespread destruction of public and private properties had led to the infringement of fundamental rights to life and movement in the two States
  4. Discuss: What are the Constitutional and statutory devices available in India to solve water disputes? Also critically evaluate the successes of tribunals in resolving river water disputes in India.


:( We are working on most probable questions. Do check back this section.







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