Tamil Nadu’s demand to name the organisation as Cauvery Management Board was accepted to in principle by the Supreme Court. Tamil Nadu and Puducherry had both insisted that the powers of the Board should be on the lines of Bhakra Beas and are hopeful of getting the revisions effected on the amended draft expected to be submitted on Thursday.
Explaining the state’s submissions before the Supreme Court on Wednesday, former legislator and advocate RM Babu Murugavel said the apex court has directed the Centre to file the rectified scheme incorporating changes to the draft on Thursday.
“The seat of the Board would be set up in Delhi as per our request. Our demand to ensure the autonomy of the Board was conceded besides naming the organisation as CMB,” Babu Murugavel, who is a part of the state’s battery of lawyers, told DTNext.
Babu said the state’s counsel also opposed the Centre’s interference in having the final say as well as mandating the Board’s compliance on orders issued by the Centre from timeto-time. Asked about the operation of the Board’s orders and ensuring the water release, Babu said the same was raised by the state during the hearing.
“Bearing this in mind, our senior counsel has urged the apex court to ensure that the Board has all powers on the lines of Bhakra Beas Management Board. We have sought the Board to have powers to manage the reservoirs. Karnataka opposed it, but the SC was positive to our submission.
These things are expected to be present in the rectified draft scheme,” he said.
“As per the draft scheme, the organisation can go for a vote in case of a split decision on any of the terms it governs. The majority’s decision would be given effect to. It also provides for the Board to set up any number of sub-committees to implement its orders,” he added.
DMK defers proposed all-party meet on May 17
The DMK has deferred the all-party meeting scheduled on May 17 to discuss the Cauvery issue as the hearing of the case in the Supreme Court would continue on Thursday too.
Urging the ruling AIADMK to mount pressure on the BJP-led Centre to constitute an autonomous Cauvery Management Board (CMB), DMK working president MK Stalin, in a statement issued later in the day, urged the state government to engage senior lawyers and present its arguments firmly in the apex court on Thursday.
Quoting from the verdict of the Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal, which concluded that, “The mechanism shall have to be independent in character” and “whatever machinery is set up should be adequately empowered to implement the Tribunal’s decision,” Stalin wondered why the state government was silent on the issue of autonomy of the body in the SC. Claiming that the Centre has only described it as a “monitoring body” and not an “autonomous body” in the draft scheme, Stalin, the Leader of Opposition in the Assembly, accused the Modi regime of furnishing a ‘toothless’ draft scheme.
Asking if the revised draft scheme sought by the SC on Wednesday would have the powers to implement the verdict, the DMK president doubted if Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami, who works hand in glove with the Centre, did not convene an all-party meeting and elicit views of all parties and farmers before proposing a draft scheme on an issue involving the rights of Tamil Nadu only to forgo the Cauvery riparian rights of TN to the Centre and deceive everyone in the state by getting a ‘powerless’ body constituted in the name CMB.
Stalin added that the Centre should ensure in the draft scheme to be tabled before the court on Thursday that an autonomous CMB is formed in conformity with the final award of the Cauvery water disputes tribunal and the final verdict of the SC on the same.
Advising the ruling AIADMK not to dance to the tunes of the BJP, which attempts to bring everything under its control, Stalin asked the state government to exert necessary pressure on the Centre and present strong arguments through a senior counsel in the apex court on Thursday.