New Delhi: Ticking off the Centre for "flouting the law" for the last five years, the Supreme Court today set a February 20 deadline to notify Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal award, saying it has no discretion or choice but to do so.
Mincing no words in its observations against the Centre for sitting on the award, the apex court said that the government is bound by the Act under which the Tribunal was set up in 1990 and directed it to notify the award as expeditiously as possible but not later than February 20.
"You flouted the law of the Act for the last five years. You have no option but to notify the final award. That is the mandate given by Parliament. No option has been given to you once the final award is made by the tribunal. You have no choice and discretion," a bench headed by Justice R M Lodha said.
Earlier, the government had assured the court that the award would be notified by January 31 but it sought more time to notify it.
The bench, however, refused the plea of Additional Solicitor General Haren Rawal who urged the court not to pass any order saying that government would soon notify the award.
"We direct the Central government to publish final award dated February 5, 2007 as earlier as possible but not later than February 20," the bench said.
Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal, constituted on 2 June 1990, had passed the final award on February 5, 2007 but the award was not put in operation as the Centre did not notify it in official gazette.