Authority can deliberate, but no final opinion, says SC on Mekadatu dam project
The Supreme Court on Wednesday said the Cauvery Water Management Authority can deliberate in connection with Mekadatu dam reservoir project's detailed project report, but it will not form any final opinion based on Karnataka government's proposal.
New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Wednesday said the Cauvery Water Management Authority can deliberate in connection with Mekadatu dam reservoir project's detailed project report, but it will not form any final opinion based on Karnataka government's proposal.
Senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi, representing Tamil Nadu government, contended before a bench headed by Justice A M Khanwilkar that the proposed Mekedatu Reservoir project of Karnataka is not in interest of the farmers of Tamil Nadu. He added that Cauvery Water Management Authority has no jurisdiction to examine a project.
Senior advocate Shyam Divan, representing the Karnataka government, submitted that the plea by Tamil Nadu has been filed in a disposed-off matter. He urged the court to allow the authority to deliberate and the project should not be stalled. He also maintained that there was no question of impacting the flow of the water by the project.
The bench, also comprising Justice Abhay S. Oka and J.B. Pardiwala, issued notice to the authority and others on a plea filed by Tamil Nadu, seeking a direction to restrain it from passing any direction in connection with detailed project report for the dam.
During the hearing, the bench said: "The question is whether this authority has jurisdiction to deal with the issue?"
Divan pressed that the project cannot be stalled and it would be subjected to any direction of the top court. The bench noted that the matter has been pending since 2018, therefore a further hearing on it could be scheduled next week.
The top court noted that deliberations on the matter can go on, but opinion should not be recorded, as the matter is pending. Rohatgi contended that it was his client's case that this deliberation is completely out of jurisdiction. "Let the discussion go on, but no formation of final decision or articulation of final opinion," the bench said.
After hearing arguments, the top court scheduled the matter for further hearing on Tuesday.
The top court was hearing a plea by TN government to restrain the Cauvery Water Management Authority from passing any direction regarding the detailed project report for the Mekedatu dam proposed by Karnataka government.
The TN government, its application, asked the court to restrain the Ministry of Environment and Forest and its agencies from entertaining any application for clearance relating to the Mekedatu project.
The TN government had filed several pleas, including one for a direction to the Central Water Commission to reject and return the detailed project report for the proposed Mekedatu balancing reservoir cum drinking water project filed by Karnataka on January 18, 2019.