Ponnaiyar River Water Dispute between Tamil Nadu and Karnataka: SC directs Centre to constitute a new Negotiation Committee

Share on:

On January 23, 2024, the Supreme Court (SC) of India directed to constitute a new Negotiation Committee to re-explore the possibility of settlement by negotiation between the States of Tamil Nadu and Karnataka over sharing of Ponnaiyar river water resources. Also, the SC bench ordered the Committee to submit its report for the same to the Centre within three months of its constitution. The Ponnaiyar river water dispute was mentioned before the bench by Tamil Nadu in the form of a suit under Article 131 of the Indian Constitution against Karnataka and the Union of India. The order was passed by a two-judge bench comprising Justice Hrishikesh Roy and Justice Prashant Kumar Mishra

During the court proceedings, Additional Solicitor General Aishwarya Bhati and Senior Advocate who appeared for Union of India told the SC that a request on behalf of the State of Karnataka had been received to the effect that its newly constituted government wanted to re-explore the possibility of settling the dispute via negotiations with Tamil Nadu. SA Mohan Katarki who appeared for the state of Karnataka told the SC that a negotiation committee was constituted by the Centre in January 2020 but nothing progressed in the matter. Further, SA V. Krishnamurthy and SA G. Umapathy who appeared for Tamil Nadu objected to the Change of stand by the Union Government.

Furthermore, ASG Bhati said, “Water disputes must be seen with some amount of sensitivity. There are no easy solutions for such disputes. A new government has taken over in Karnataka and it seeks time to negotiate a solution. But if this is the attitude of the other side, it seems they are not even interested in this proposal.” After hearing the contentions of both sides, the SC bench ordered, “With the aforesaid request made on behalf of the newly elected government of Karnataka and the fact that the Committee constituted on January 20, 2020, failed to make any serious endeavor for resolution of the water dispute between the two States, we deem it appropriate to direct the Ministry of Jai Shakti, Government of India to constitute a fresh Negotiation Committee as envisaged under Section 4(1) of the Act. The notification constituting the Committee to issued within 2 weeks.”