TAMIL NADU CAUVERY NEER PPASANA VILAIPORULOALVIVASAYIGAL NALAURIMAIPADHUGAPPUSANGAM Vs. UNION OF INDIA
SUPREME COURT OF INDIA (FROM: MADRAS)
TAMIL NADU CAUVERY NEER PPASANA VILAIPORULOALVIVASAYIGAL NALAURIMAIPADHUGAPPUSANGAM
UNION OF INDIA
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Ranganath Misra, J. -
(1.)This is an application under Article 32 of the Constitution filed by the Tamil Nadu Cauvery Neerppasana Vilaiporulgal Vivasayigal Nala Urimal Padhugappu Sangam which is said to be a society registered under the Tamil Nadu Societies Registration Act asking this Court for direction to the Union of India, respondent No. 1, to refer the dispute relating to the water utilisation of the Cauvery river and equitable distribution thereof in terms of Section 4 of the Inter-State Water Disputes Act, 1966, and for a manadamus to the State of Karnataka not to proceed with the construction of dams, projects and reservoirs across the said river and/ or on any of its tributaries within the State and to restore supply of water to the State of Tamil Nadu as envisaged in the agreements dated 18th of February, 1924. To the petition States of Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Kerala and the Union Territory of Pondicherry have been added as respondents 2 to 5 respectively.
(2.)In the petition it has been alleged that the petitioner's society is an organisation of agriculturists of Tamil Nadu and they are entitled to the lower riparian rights of Cauvery river for cultivating their lands over the years. The petitioner alleges that inflow into the Cauvery at the Mettur dam point as also down the stream has considerably diminished due to construction of new dams, projects and reservoirs across river Cauvery and its tributaries by the State of Karnataka within its own boundaries. In the year. 1970 the State of Tamil Nadu had requested the Union of India to set up a tribunal and refer the question of equitable distribution of Cauvery water under Section 3 of the Act. A suit filed under Article 131 of the Constitution by the Tamil Nadu State in this Court was withdrawn on political consideration and in anticipation of the evolving of a mutual and negotiated settlement. Petitions of the present type had also been filed in this Court being writ petitions Nos. 303 and 304 of 1971 but on 24-7-1975 they were withdrawn on account of suspension of the Fundamental Rights during the period of Emergency. Petitioner has further alleged that the sharing of the Cauvery water between the then Madras State and the then princely State of Mysore was covered by a set of agreements reached in 1892 and 1924. According to the petitioner several attempts were made through bilateral and multilateral talks for a negotiated settlement for equitable distribution of the Cauvery waters but no solution could be reached and the problem continued. Since we are not on the merits of the matter relating to distribution of waters it is unnecessary to give any details of the further pleadings.
(3.)The State of Karnataka by filing several affidavits has opposed the maintainability of the petition as also the tenability of the plea for relief. The Union of India in the Ministry of Water Resources has also opposed the maintainability of the application. Reliance has been placed on Section 11 of the Act to which we shall presently make a reference.
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