New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Friday gave the central government time till January 31 to decide whether it would notify the decision of the water resources ministry accepting the Cauvery Water Tribunal award on the sharing of Cauvery river water.
A bench of Justice DK Jain and Justice Madan B Lokur gave the time on the plea of Additional Solicitor General Harin Rawal that the law and justice ministry was vetting the Cauvery Water Tribunal award and the water resources ministry decision was expected by January 31.
The court order said the states of Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Kerala and union territory of Puducherry had no objection to the award being notified without prejudice to their rights and contentions.
The court also directed the Cauvery Monitoring Committee to meet on or before January 11 to consider the shortfall, if any, in the release of water by Karnataka to Tamil Nadu. The CMC will take into consideration the standing crops in both the states and pass appropriate orders.
In the course of the hearing, the court asked to as to why government was taking so long in taking the decision, Rawal said that government had to take into consideration all the material before arriving at a decision.
He told the court that the stand taken by Karnataka before the apex court was different from what that state's chief minister has taken in a written communication to the government resisting the notification of CWT award.
"Their stand changes with the change of forum", he said, prompting the court to observe that it would not permit Karnataka to "play hide and seek."
As Rawal sought time till January 31, the court asked senior counsel CS Vaidyanathan appearing for Tamil Nadu whether it would be inappropriate to give time to the central government so that the law and justice ministry could vet the decision to issue the notification.
Vaidyanathan said that an opportunity could be given to the central government but time should be restricted to one week. He said that the issue of the issuance of notification was capable of being decided and should be decided.