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Cauvery water dispute must be brought to an end, says Supreme Court

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Wednesday said that two decade old dispute among Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Kerala and Puduchhery on Cauvery water sharing must be decided at the earliest and decided to conduct day-to-day hearing on appeals filed against the 2007 award of the Cauvery Water Dispute Tribunal (CWDT).A bench of Justices Dipak Misra, Amitava Roy and A M Khanwilkar said that the court would start hearing the case from February 7 on day-to-day basis. The court made it clear that it would not send the matter back to tribunal if it came to the conclusion that the award was flawed. The court said that it would itself pass a verdict on water sharing among four states to bring to an end the ongoing dispute.

It said that its interim order directing Karnataka to release 2000 cusecs of Cauvery water to Tamil Nadu would continue till the matter was adjudicated.
The apex court had on December 9 upheld the maintainability of appeals filed by the riparian states, saying it has the “jurisdiction to decide the parameters, scope, authority and jurisdiction of the tribunal”. It rejected Centre’s contention that the CWDT award amounted to a final decree in the dispute and SC had no jurisdiction to hear appeals against the award of the tribunal.

“A person aggrieved can always have his remedy invoking the jurisdiction under Article 136 of the Constitution. We have no a scintilla of doubt in our mind that the founding fathers did not want the award or the final order passed by the tribunal to remain immune from challenge. That is neither the express language of Article 262(1) nor it impliedly so states. Thus, the contention of centre with regard to maintainability of the appeal by special leave under Article 136 of the Constitution on this score stands repelled,” the bench had said.

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