Tamil Nadu Government files contempt petition against Centre

New Delhi: Tamil Nadu on Saturday approached the Supreme Court seeking contempt action against the Centre for “willful disobedience” in carrying out the mandate of the apex court on constituting the Cauvery Management Board for which the six-week deadline expired on Friday.

The application filed by Tamil Nadu also wanted the court to direct the Centre to purge the contempt forthwith by framing a scheme in accordance with the February 16 judgment of the apex court by providing for Cauvery Management Board and Cauvery Water Regulation Committee vested with all powers to give effect to the decision of the tribunal as well as the judgment of the top court.

“Initiate contempt proceedings against respondents (the central government) for willful disobedience in carrying out clear mandate set out in para 403 of the judgment passed by the honourable court dated 16-02-2018 in civil appeal number 2453 of 2007 and connected appeals,” the Tamil Nadu application said.

The petition contended that the Centre was bound to give effect to the judgment by framing a scheme so that the board and the regulation panel are put in place within six weeks and the decision of the tribunal as modified by the apex court is implemented in accordance with the time schedule prescribed in that.

“It (Centre) has not taken any concrete steps in this regard. Belatedly after a period of three weeks, the Central government convened a meeting of the Chief Secretaries of the party states on March 9.”

The Tamil Nadu petition said convening of the meeting did not make in any way any substantial progress in the matter of the constitution of the board and the panel.

The state maintained that in the meeting it submitted that the court’s mandate was to constitute the two authorities in terms of the final order of the tribunal in 2007 and the central government was bound to frame a scheme providing for the board and the panel.

Referring to the apex court order that the Scheme shall be framed by the Centre within a period of six weeks and that there will be no extension of time, Tamil Nadu said that the deadline expired on March 30.

However, till date the central government has not complied with the judgment and failed to constitute the scheme.

“In the absence of any cogent reasons for not constituting Cauvery Management Board and Cauvery Water Regulation Committee within the time frame and not making any substantial steps in that direction amounts to willful disobedience of the court.”

The state said it was in this circumstances that it was constrained to approach the court seeking justice in the wake of suffering farmers and people of the state who have been pursuing lawful and constitutional remedies.