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Apex court has to render justice

Apex court has to render justice
Highlights

The refusal of the Tribunal to consider the pleas of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana for a four-way reallocation of waters, confining its adjudication of the dispute to only two States instead of four, is a clear case of travesty of justice.

The Brijesh Kumar Tribunal's ruling that its jurisdiction of the present Krishna River Waters Dispute would be confined to the two Telugu States alone and not to the upper riparian States comes as a bolt out of the blue for the lower riparian States.

The refusal of the Tribunal to consider the pleas of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana for a four-way reallocation of waters, confining its adjudication of the dispute to only two States instead of four, is a clear case of travesty of justice.

The argument of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana is based on sound principles of natural justice, keeping in view the deficit flows of the river, too. Moreover, Telangana's argument that it neither existed as an independent entity nor was a party to the previous award and, hence, a relook was necessary is not legally unsound too.

The Tribunal began hearing the arguments of all the four States after Centre's reference of the dispute to it as per the provisions of the Andhra Pradesh State Reorganization Act, 2014, even as a case remains pending in the Supreme Court.

Andhra Pradesh and Telangana in their response argued that the Centre had a good reason to refer the matter to the Tribunal, as it had done so, having been fully satisfied, after bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh, on the need for a relook.

After all, it was wrong to argue that the river waters dispute should be heard from the view point of the Andhra Pradesh State Reorganization Act, 2014, alone as there was nothing mentioned in the act against such a relook.

Moreover, to consider the argument that the allocation of the previous awards holds good would also be silly as the present water availability levels are insufficient to secure both the Telugu States their complete quota of waters.

At no point of time did the Parliament intend to confine the dispute under Section 89 of the Reorganization Act to just Andhra Pradesh and Telangana. Otherwise, it would have made a specific mention of it. The crux of the problem was not redistribution of water between the Telugu States but one of reallocation of water, and, hence, it had come under the jurisdiction of the Tribunal.

When States like Punjab, Madhya Pradesh and Bihar had been bifurcated, a special provision was made for establishing an exclusive machinery to look after all related issues, which is absent in the Andhra Pradesh State Reorganization Act, and, hence, project-wise allocation should have been done afresh and an operation protocol established.

Both States rightly argued that there were six irrigation projects to be completed for which water allocation had not been made by KWDT-II, and, hence, the Tribunal was mandated to reallocate the water to the successor States including for the projects.

The other plea that had been raised was that interest of Telangana was affected as equitable distribution of the water in the basin here eluded it for long.

Maharashtra and Karnataka maintained that geographically the area of the divided Andhra Pradesh remains the same and hence no consideration must be shown against them. It is for the Apex Court now to render justice.

Alos Read:

Setback to Telangana, AP

Unhappy Telangana may move Supreme Court

AP Yet to study report

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