Bengaluru (The Hindu): The court notes that Tamil Nadu has suffered deficit for three straight months in June, July and August this year.
Urging Karnataka to embrace the principle of “live and let live”, the Supreme Court asked the State to consider taking steps to release Cauvery water to distressed Tamil Nadu to help the State continue to “exist as an entity.”
“Tamil Nadu’s situation is ‘water, water everywhere, but not a drop to drink.’ Some steps have to be taken by Karnataka so that the other State [Tamil Nadu] can exist as an entity. The principle of live and let live has to be applied to this dispute,” Justice Dipak Misra heading the Bench observed.
Three deficit months
The Bench, also comprising Justice U.U. Lalit, noted that Tamil Nadu had suffered deficit for three straight months in June, July and August this year.
“At least live up to the Cauvery tribunal award of 2007,” Justice Misra told Karnataka.
The court agreed to hear the case in detail on September 5.
“We will listen to the grievances of the inhabitants of both States,” Justice Misra said. The Karnataka government described the past few months as “deficit months” in rains.
In a counter to Tamil Nadu’s application for release of 50.52 tmc ft of Cauvery water to save 40000 acres of samba crop this season, Karnataka said it had a deficit of about 80 tmc ft water in its four reservoirs.
“Two States have to live in harmony. Water disputes leave the inhabitants of two States, their agriculture, their lives in dire straits...” Justice Misra observed.
“Leave alone two States, two districts in a State end up fighting nowadays,” senior advocate Shekhar Naphade countered.
“I am talking the constitutional language,” Justice Misra said.
“And I am talking the language of political reality on the ground,” Mr. Naphade responded.
Appearing for Karnataka, senior advocate Fali Nariman and advocate Mohan Katarki submitted that the tribunal had not provided for an alternative to Karnataka on release of water during distress months.
“We cannot assume what will be the rainfall, etc... but if there is a formula in the tribunal award, Karnataka is bound by it,” Justice Misra observed.
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