Political Expediency Driving Cauvery Dispute Resolution
The recent Cauvery episode and the earlier Mahadayi river issues have clearly established that there is a serious lacuna in the political leadership in Karnataka. While Jayalalitha (born in Karnataka) leads Tamil Nadu cause more than effectively, Mr Siddaramaiah born and brought up here comes out as a leader who neither has the will nor the ability to defend the Karnataka cause. At the same time, the main opposition party namely BJP is no better.
Both the national parties have larger national interests to take into account where the 39 cohesive MPs of Tamil Nadu will always be more valuable than the 28 disunited MPs of Karnataka. Cauvery issue is therefore one issue which even Mr Modi will not be inclined to touch and resolve except in favour of TN. In India, political expediency always triumphs over what is otherwise logical or correct. Settling Cauvery issue in favour of Tamil Nadu will always be political expediency for both Congress and BJP and hence we cannot expect any justice from these national parties.
Add to this, the distinct possibility that Tamil Nadu can bribe Tribunal Members, Judges and the opposite Lawyers, the victory for TN in the political and judicial battles is assured. Karnataka is bound to fail again and again as it has been happening since 1892.
If not, how is it that Cauvery is a river which originates from Karnataka but the State has to seek the permission of TN for using the water even for drinking purpose? How is it that TN is entitled to a lion’s share of the water? How is it that the honourable Supreme Court considers that even in a distress situation, Karnataka should release water for irrigation in Tamil Nadu and risk non availability of drinking water for the ext summer in major cities of Karnataka?
Cauvery Tribunal Award is Faulty
Many learned men argue that while Israel and its neighbors can come to an agreement on river water, Karnataka and TN cannot. The reason is that international and inter state river disputes are settled on more equitable manner than what the Cauvery Tribunal tried to do. The fault is not with the neighboring States of a Country not being able to live like brothers but the fact that the settlement proposed is faulty.
Why Supreme Court is deemed to have suspended the Tribunal award
The Supreme Court which expects people to respect it as the highest Judicial authority in India and sermonizes on the need for Citizens to obey it’s orders forgets that its role is to interpret “Law” at the highest level even when no clarity is available in law with the principle objective of maintaining “Public Good”. But in the current instance, it is only behaving like a clerk interpreting what is the amount of water available in Karnataka and how much is to be released etc.
The Supreme Court first of all should have refused to exercise jurisdiction in this case which comes under the Inter State River water disputes act and it is not expected to enter into resolution of inter state water dispute as per our constitution (Article 262 of Indian Constitution)
Refer: Interstate River Dispute Act
Once the Cauvery Tribunal award was constituted and notified, Supreme Court should consider itself out of jurisdiction.
However, Supreme Court has decided that its interference is necessary and started hearing the arguments on a expeditious manner. (Though the same urgency is never seen in hearing the appeal against Jayalalitha in the Disproportionate Asset Case..for reasons only the honourable Supreme Court can explain)
Now that Supreme Court has decided that it has the right to interfere, it can be interpreted only in one way. That is that the Supreme Court considers that its role in the settlement of Cauvery dispute between Karnataka and Tamil Nadu has not been over ridden by the notification of the Tribunal award, or in other words it is not recognizing the existence of the tribunal notification.
Hence it is deemed that the Notification of the Tribunal is suspended and the Tribunal award itself is deemed to be not yet accepted in law.
Why The Cauvery Tribunal Award is to be treated as Void
The Cauvery Tribunal award itself is considered a fraud and the award itself was blatantly unfair to the State of Karnataka. It should be challenged and quashed. This award was founded on the 1892 and 1924 British-Mysore agreements which were between unequal parties and considered “unconscionable“. The Supreme Court itself in LIC of India vs CERC held that such contracts may be considered Unenforceable. The Cauvery Tribunal award is therefore challengeable even today and Karnataka should get it declared as illegal and void.
Since Supreme Court continues to exercise its jurisdiction, it is deemed that it has not considered the notification of the Tribunal as final and has kept the Tribunal in a state of suspension.
Tamil Nadu is today “Eating the cake and having it too” by using the Supreme Court whenever it wants to get the advantages of the biased Tribunal award implemented. The Supreme Court is acting as if it is a lower court interpreting the tribunal award rather than exercising its thoughts on substantial points of law and public good. In the process it has reduced its own status to that of a lower Court.
It is therefore the right time for us to change our defense in Supreme Court and start arguing that the Supreme Court should declare that it is still interpreting the Tribunal award and hence its notification is considered null and void. Then let the Supreme Court constitute a larger bench to review the award and its dependency to the 1892 and 1924 contracts which are “Unconscionable” and adjudicate on whether the Tribunal award per-se was legal or not.
Nariman will Not Faithfully Represent Karnataka cause
Unfortunately, the Mr Fali Nariman who represents Karnataka does not seem to have challenged the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court in taking up this TN petition and the Judges also have gone ahead and interpreting whether 15000 cusecs should be released for 10 days or 12000 cusecs for 20 days to help the Tamil Nadu save its crops even if Bangalore, Mysore and Mandya people may not have drinking water after a few months.
Mr Nariman will also not take up the issue of the above argument that Supreme Court deciding to exercise its jurisdiction is deemed to have taken up the Tribunal award itself for review and proceed to demand a complete review of the award and its notification. He has a greater allegiance to Ms Jayalalitha and has no commitment to the cause of Karnataka. His continuance as Karnataka counsel is a risk for the State.
There are some politicians in Karnataka including Mr Devegowda who still think it is not the mistake of Fali Nariman but of the Government which has not given the correct figures on rain data in the cauvery basin and hence Supreme Court was misguided by Tamil Nadu. Even BJP leaders think Nariman is fine and mistake lies elsewhere. These are all political statements.
Mistakes may be there not only with the persons who fed information to Mr Nariman but in Nariman himself. If he has handled this case for 30 plus years, he should know better than any of the local statisticians about the state of affairs here. But this gentleman has no commitment to the cause of Karnataka. He is also representing Jayalalitha in other cases including the Disproportionate Asset Case in which he has successfully stalled the Supreme Court hearing of the appeal. He must be actually blacklisted as an unreliable advocate for Karnataka cause.
Is there a Nexus between Karnataka Politicians and Jayalaliatha?
If Mr Siddaramaiah and Devegowda as well as some BJP leaders consider that Mr Nariman is the right person to represent the State, there appears to be an unholy nexus driving them to such a view. What is this nexus? Has Jayalaitha paid of Karnataka politicians also? Only a proper investigation will expose this Jayalalitha-Karnataka Politician nexus.
I wish some public spirited lawyer files a PIL in Supreme Court that Mr Nariman has a conflict of interest and should not be allowed to represent Karnataka in the Cauvery issue.
Neither Congress CM or the opposition in Karnataka will otherwise remove him and the people of Karnataka will suffer from his unilateral actions such as filing affidavits on behalf of the State without checking with the CM.
This is the right time for a new Political party/Apolitical Front to emerge in Karnataka which represents the people’s interests in a professional manner. The agenda for agitation in Karnataka now is to get Mr Nariman removed and for appointment of a team of experts who are not relatives of Judges and Politicians but are those who are professionally capable.
I wish Mr Rajeev Chandrashekar accepts the above argument and admits that Mr Nariman is not reliable. Then he along with people like Mr Pratap Simha should start a new “Cauvery Resolution Front” that can lead the next round of Cauvery battle on a professional tack.
Is anybody listening?
P:S: Here is an extract from the Assembly proceedings in 2013 as reported in DNA in an article which headlined.. “Sack Nariman for Cauvery Mess..demands opposition”
“Nariman has been doing an excellent job in arguing the Karnataka’s case. I have full faith in his abilities and performance so far. It will not be prudent to replace him at this juncture,”… so said Mr Jagadeesh Shettar
“Change the lawyer. Nariman is not the only one. There are better lawyers in this country”,..so said Mr Siddaramaiah
Is it ironic that the roles have now been reversed?… How can we trust these parties?
Ethics of Mr Nariman: See article in Hindu: “Father, Son and the Holy Court” ..the Court which says it is the duty of Citizens to obey its order..(!)
I am surprised that one of the judges in the bench namely Justice Lalit had earlier represented J Jayalalitha.
This Cauvery case is for all practical purposes, a direct case of Jayalalitha vs her state of birth Karnataka.
It would have therefore been better if Justice Lalith had recused himself from the case which he has not done.
Mr Nariman who is still representing Jayalalitha in another personal case obviously did not challenge.
When the Supreme Court says that “Citizens should obey its orders”, one feels if citizens can ask whether “Supreme Court should not be above controversy of conflict of interest?”
In order to uphold the dignity of the Court, it would be better if both walk out of the case.