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Karnataka to move SC against T.N. project

Topics Covered: Separation of powers between various organs dispute redressal mechanisms and institutions.

Karnataka to move SC against T.N. project:


Karnataka is readying itself to wage a legal battle in the Supreme Court against Tamil Nadu’s ambitious Cauvery-Vellaru-Vaigai-Gundar river linking project.

  • The 262 km river-linking project will divert 6,300 cubic feet of surplus water during floods and increase the groundwater levels in the state’s southern districts to meet drinking water needs.

What’s the issue?

Tamil Nadu is trying to utilise surplus 45 Tmcft of water.

Karnataka Government says, “this project is not in accordance with the Interstate River Water Disputes Act.

  • According to the Act, surplus water should also be adjudicated and the tribunal has to decide on it.

Inter-State River Water Disputes Act, 1956:

  • According to its provisions, if a State Government makes a request regarding any water dispute and the Central Government is of opinion that the water dispute cannot be settled by negotiations, then a Water Disputes Tribunal is constituted for the adjudication of the water dispute.
  • The act was amended in 2002, to include the major recommendations of the Sarkaria Commission.
  • The amendments mandated a one-year time frame to setup the water disputes tribunal and also a 3-year time frame to give a decision.

Provisions related to interstate river water disputes:

Entry 17 of State List deals with water i.e. water supply, irrigation, canal, drainage, embankments, water storage and water power.

Entry 56 of Union List empowers the Union Government for the regulation and development of inter-state rivers and river valleys to the extent declared by Parliament to be expedient in the public interest.

Article 262: In the case of disputes relating to waters, it provides

  1. Clause 1:Parliament may by law provide for the adjudication of any dispute or complaint with respect to the use, distribution or control of the waters of, or in, any inter-State river or river valley.
  2. Clause 2:Parliament may, by law provide that neither the Supreme Court nor any other court shall exercise jurisdiction in respect of any such dispute or complaint as mentioned above.


Prelims Link:

  1. Cauvery river- origin, basin, tributaries and important projects.
  2. Article 262.
  3. Key Provisions of the Inter-State River Water Disputes Act, 1956.
  4. Overview of Cauvery-Vellaru-Vaigai-Gundar river linking project.

Sources: the Hindu.