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SC keeps Centre's Cauvery draft scheme on hold till May 16

Press Trust of India/New Delhi 14 May 18 | 03:37 PM

The Centre today submitted the draft Cauvery management scheme, to ensure smooth distribution of water between Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Puducherry, before the Supreme Court for its perusal and approval.

A bench, comprising Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud, took on record the draft scheme submitted by the Union Water Resource secretary and said it would peruse it.

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"We need to examine whether the said scheme is in consonance with our judgment," the bench said, adding that it would consider and approve the scheme on May 16. The apex court said that it will not go into "correctness of the scheme" and rather confine itself to whether the scheme was in consonance with its February 16 judgment.

The top court had on May 8 summoned the secretary of the Union Water Resources Ministry to appear before it on Monday, May 14, with the draft scheme and warned the Centre that it was in "sheer contempt" of the February 16 verdict by not framing the Cauvery management scheme on river water sharing between the four southern riparian states till now. 

The apex court had on February 16 asked the Centre to formulate a scheme to ensure compliance with its judgement on the decades-old Cauvery dispute. It had modified the Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal (CWDT) award of 2007 and made it clear that it will not be extending the time for this on any ground. The top court had then raised the 270 tmcft share of Cauvery water for Karnataka by 14.75 tmcft and reduced Tamil Nadu's share, while compensating it by allowing extraction of 10 tmcft groundwater from the river basin, saying the issue of drinking water has to be placed on a "higher pedestal".

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