New Delhi: In a big setback to the Karnataka government, the Supreme Court on Tuesday directed the state to release at least 6,000 cusecs of water to Tamil Nadu for next three days.
The apex court also directed the Attorney General to facilitate a meeting between executive heads of two states and the Centre to resolve the deadlock.
The SC told the Siddaramaiah-led government to release 6,000 cusecs of water to Tamil Nadu till September 29 and warned against any disobedience, stating that 'it won't be a solution in a federal structure'.
The order was passed by the bench of Justice Dipak Misra and Justice Uday Umesh Lalit, which fixed September 30 as the next date for hearing in the matter.
Meanwhile, Section 144 has been imposed in Bengaluru till September 30th midnight, in wake of ongoing violent protests over Cauvery water sharing row.
SC calls for meeting of CMs
The apex court's instruction to the central government came after Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi suggested that the Centre could sit with the two Chief Ministers - K. Siddaramaiah and J. Jayalalithaa.
The bench told the two states fighting over the river water to respect the principle of "federal co-operation", and advised Tamil Nadu to exercise "patience" and shun being "emotional" over the issue.
"We direct the State of Karnataka to release 6,000 cusecs of water. We are sure that Karnataka would not create any impediment or obstruction in the release of water," the apex court said.
The bench also clarified in the order that the water to be given to Tamil Nadu (6,000 cusecs per day for next three days) would be adjusted against the total release of water to the state.
Attacking Karnataka for not complying with the court's September 20 order to release 6,000 cusecs of water every day for next seven days, Tamil Nadu said Karnataka's plea seeking modification of order should not be heard.
"They (Karnataka) should not be heard till they obey the orders of the court. This is a gross defiance of the court's order ... end of the rule of law," senior counsel Shekhar Naphade, appearing for Tamil Nadu, told the court.
He further said: "Tamil Nadu is tired of this litigation. Two-thirds of Bangalore is outside the Cauvery basin, yet (Cauvery) water flows to it."
Naphade described the stand of Karnataka as "obstructionist" and "obstinate", Naphade told the bench that "Tamil Nadu has come to conclusion that, come what may, Karnataka will not give it (Tamil Nadu) its legitimate share (of Cauvery water)."
Over-ruling Naphade's assertion that Karnataka should not be heard, the bench said: "Attempt should be made by the executive of both States to manage and resolve the issue."
At one stage in the course of the hearing, the bench asked senior counsel Fali S Nariman as to under what provision of the Constitution the Karnataka assembly had passed the resolution denying release of Cauvery water to Tamil Nadu.
The Karnataka government, in an application on September 26, told the Supreme Court that it can release additional water to Tamil Nadu only by December, and that "Karnataka's all major cities, including Bengaluru, are falling short of drinking water".
CM Siddaramaiah calls all-party meet
The Karnataka government-led by CM Siddaramaiah today called for an all-party meeting and emergent cabinet meeting on Wednesday to deliberate and decide on the Supreme Court order to release 6,000 cusecs of Cauvery river water to Tamil Nadu for three days from Wednesday, an official said.
"The chief minister has convened tomorrow (Wednesday) an all-party meeting followed by a cabinet meeting to discuss and decide on the apex court order, which directed the state to release water despite the assembly passing a resolution against it," an official was quoted as saying by the IANS.
Meanwhile, Tamil Nadu CM Jayalalithaa also chaired an emergency meeting at her room in Apollo hospital in Chennai on the ongoing Cauvery impasse where she gave directions to her ministers on how to handle the issue.