SC Asks Why Delay, Answer is PM Busy in Karnataka Campaign

SC Asks Why Delay, Answer is PM Busy in Karnataka Campaign

Seeking 10 days time to finalize a scheme, Attorney General KK Venugopal told Supreme Court's Chief Justice Dipak Misra, Justice AM Khanwilkar and Justice DY Chandrachud that Prime Minister Narendra Modi and ministers are busy in Karnataka poll campaign. The Supreme Court was told on Thursday that the Union government could not take a decision on the scheme for implementing its direction on sharing Cauvery waters as the Prime Minister and other ministers were campaigning in Karnataka. Meanwhile, Tamil Nadu retorted that the Centre was "politicizing" the issue ahead of the Karnataka polls.

AG told Supreme Court's Chief Justice: "A draft scheme has been placed before the cabinet. Because of Karnataka elections, the Prime Minister and all other Ministers are in Karnataka. Before that, the Prime Minister was abroad (in China)."

In a strong rebuttal, senior counsel Shekhar Naphade, appearing for Tamil Nadu, said: "Sorry to say, the Central government is politicizing the issue. They are worried about their electoral fate in Karnataka. The election in Karnataka is on May 12 and somehow they don't want to do it till then. We have enough of it, it is brazen partisanship of the Union of India. It is the end of co-operative federalism."

The court then directed the Karnataka government to respond on how much of the four TMC of water it can release by month end. It also sought the response from the Centre on the steps taken by it since the pronouncing of the judgment for putting in place a scheme for implementing its order on the sharing of Cauvery water among Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Puducherry (Pondicherry).

In the course of the hearing, at one stage, the court asked Karnataka to release 4 TMC of water by Monday. The court said that even if the Centre has not framed the scheme, Karnataka, under the Cauvery Water Dispute Tribunal award, was obliged to make monthly releases to Tamil Nadu. The Apex court directed the next hearing of the matter for May 8 (Tuesday).