Hearing on Sutlej-Yamuna water dispute deferred to August

March 2nd, 2009 - 8:48 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, March 2 (IANS) The Supreme Court Monday adjourned again for a long period the hearing on contentious issue of sharing of the Sutlej and Yamuna waters among north Indian states of Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Delhi, Rajasthan and Jammu and Kashmir.
A bench of Chief Justice K.G. Balakrishnan, Justice P. Sathasivam and Justice J.M. Panchal deferred the hearing till August on the long-pending matter, agreeing with a Punjab government’s plea that the matter was sensitive and it might not be appropriate to begin hearing the same during the “politically surcharged atmosphere” in the wake of the general elections.

The bench however ignored the Haryana government’s demand for an expeditious disposal of the matter, hanging fire since July 2004.

A bench headed by Chief Justice Balakrishnan assured the Haryana government March 5 last year that it would begin hearing the issue from April 2008.

But the court is yet to begin hearing the issue and examine the constitutional validity of a Punjab government law terminating its agreements with neighbouring states on sharing Sutlej and Yamana waters.

The Punjab government enacted the Punjab Termination of Agreements Act, 2004 on July 12, 2004, unilaterally terminating its agreement on water sharing with five neighbouring states.

The Punjab government’s law was objected to by all the neighbouring states, including Delhi, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir and Rajasthan.

The quarrelling between the five states on the issue led then president A.P.J. Abdul Kalam to refer the matter to apex court July 22, 2004 to examine the legality of the law.

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