SC reserves order on the Cauvery dispute

SC reserves order on the Cauvery dispute

The Supreme Court on Wednesday reserved its order on the Cauvery river water dispute involving Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Puducherry on the 2007 Cauvery River Water Disputes Tribunal.   The apex court bench completed the hearing earlier today.

According to Hindustan Times, during the course of the hearing today, the court ordered that the Centre shall have to frame a scheme for the implementation of its orders on the river water-sharing between the states and Puducherry after the judgement is pronounced.

Reserving the order, the three member bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra, Justice Amitava Roy, and Justice AM Khanwilkar asked the parties involved to present written submissions on various aspects of the issue that had emerged during the course of hearing on the 29 days which spread over eight months.

In September last year, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Kerala and Puducherry filed petitions seeking modification of Cauvery Tribunal’s final order, which was delivered in 2007. In its order, the court had allocated the highest share to Karnataka followed by Tamil Nadu, Kerala and the Union Territory of Puducherry.

The apex court had, on July 11 commenced the final hearing on the appeals filed by the three states and the Union Territory which saw the reserving by the court today.

Sources: ANI, Hindustan Times

I-T raids on Karnataka minister; over 10 crores recovered

Multiple properties linked to DK Shivakumar, Karnataka Energy Minister, were raided by the Income Tax Department on Wednesday. The raids on the Congress minister and his brother D.K. Suresh come after they were made responsible to host around 40 MLAs from Gujarat in the posh ‘Eagleton resort’ outside Bengaluru, ahead of the Rajya Sabha elections in their state in order to cope with defections. “Yes, the I-T department conducted raids on my brother’s house, offices and my home as well,” said Suresh.

Jewelry, investment documents, and about Rs 10 crore in cash, much of it from his Delhi homes, were allegedly recovered. Note-counting machines have been used at a location in Safdarjung Enclave, Delhi, and in Hasan and Mysuru in Karnataka to count the cash.

The I-T department said that the raids were part of an investigation held over a considerable period of time. “The timing of the search was decided well in advance. The events involving certain MLAs of another state being brought to Karnataka were unforeseen and unpredictable events,” claimed the department in a statement on Wednesday.

The raids led the Congress leadership to accuse the Narendra-Modi led government of misusing state machinery to intimidate opposition parties by carrying out “an unprecedented witch-hunt”. MPs from the party disrupted proceedings in Parliament on Wednesday and raised the issue in the Rajya Sabha and the Lok Sabha, forcing four adjournments of the former and staging a walkout in the Lok Sabha.

News Source: Hindustan Times, NDTV

Image Source: PTI

President approves ordinance allowing traditional buffalo racing game of Karnataka

Months after the Karnataka Government passed an ordinance in February to legalise the buffalo and/or bullock racing game of Kambala, after massive protests in the state, the President of India has finally approved prevention of cruelty to animals (Karnataka Amendment) Ordinance, 2017.
Earlier President Pranab Mukherjee had sent the bill back to the government since it included an ambiguous statement i.e. that the law is, “subject to such other conditions as may be prescribed”, which meant that the law may or may not apply to sports other than Kambala, as reported by One India. In the amended ordinance, only Kambala, the 800-year-old traditional sport is allowed to be legally played in the state.
The country saw massive agitation in southern states of Karnataka and Tamil Nadu, after protests in the latter over legalisation of Jallikattu (bull-taming sport). In 2014, sports like Jallikattu and Kambala were banned by the Supreme Court, after cases were filed by animal rights organisations, since the sport is a crime under Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960.
Supporters of the sport have endorsed the game by calling it an emblem of ‘agrarian culture’ that is believed to please the gods and give good harvest to the village, according to TOI.
News Sources- India Today, One India 

Sasikala’s lawyer to seek her transfer from Bengaluru prison to Chennai jail

On February 14, Supreme Court pronounced its verdict on disproportionate assets case and convicted Sasikala and her relatives J Ilavarasi and V N Sudhakaran. Now, jailed AIADMK general secretary, Sasikala’s lawyers are trying to seek her transfer from Bengaluru’s Parappana Agrahara jail to Chennai’s Puzhal Central Prison.

According to the procedures, Sasikala’s lawyers have to apply either to the superintendent of ParappanaAgrahara jail or approach the Karnataka law minister. “It is up to the consent of the two states. We will move the plea to Karnataka government Karnataka government which will in turn forward our request to the Tamil Nadu government,” said N D S Kulasekharan, Sasikala’s counsel.

Sasikala’s counsel said that they are considering to move to the Supreme Court with a review petition. Sasikala has to file a review petition within 30 days of the proclamation of her verdict.

B V Acharya, the special public prosecutor in the disproportionate assets case said, according to the jail guide, shifting a prisoner could be decided among the top officials of the two prisons. He also added, “However, Sasikala’s case is different. She has been imprisoned in the Karnataka jail as per the directions of the Supreme Court. According to me, she cannot be shifted without the SC’s permission. If they do so without informing the apex court, then it can be challenged.”

Sources – TOI, IndiaTv

Image source – NewsMinute


Rs 93 lakh in 2000 notes confiscated in Karnataka; 7 arrested

The crackdown on black money continues, and this time the Enforcement Directorate has tracked down Rs 93 lakh in new currency notes in Karnataka, arresting seven alleged middlemen.

The Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) comes in handy in putting behind bars the accused, one of whom in this case happens to be a government official.

In this case, the ED officials garbed them as ‘customers’ who look to exchange old currency illegally, after paying the agent his due commission. This is the most prominent modus operandi among the law keepers, as this honey trap becomes impossible for the agents to reject.

This new seizure is another addition to a chain of other confiscations, throughout the country by other law enforcement bodies. This shows a clear nexus of middlemen with senior bank employees. According to a report by Indian Express, these middlemen offer the bank employees 15 to 35 percent commission depending on the amount to be exchanged.

Around Rs 250 crore has been confiscated till date in new notes from agents by carrying out multiple raids across the country. The Home Ministry is aware of this evil, and is keeping close tabs on all nationalized as well as private banks.


Image Source : ANI

Cauvery Issue: Understanding why Bengaluru was burnt

The Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal was formed twenty-six years ago to settle the water dispute tussle between Tamil Nadu and Karnataka. Seventeen years after its formation, in 2007, the Tribunal came out with its final verdict. It pronounced that Tamil Nadu would be entitled to 12 km³ of water from the Cauvery river, while Karnataka should legally receive 7.6 km³ of water from the river. At that point in time, Karnataka was releasing only 5.6 km³ of water to the feuding neighbor.

Protests erupted in the state of Karnataka, with a state-wise bandh called by the Kannada Rakshana Vedike, a self-confessed pro-Kannadiga group, supported by 30-odd powerful trade unions. The bandh steeped into sectarian violence, with every social entity,  from corner kiosks to million-dollar information technology enterprises, being shut down. Air and train services were disrupted, buses were burnt, bringing the state to a standstill. While the political games continued, monsoon came to the rescue of Tamil Nadu, putting an interim break to public agitation over the issue.

Nine years have passed and the stalemate continues, with both the states refusing to budge or give in. After reassuming power for the second consecutive time, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J.Jayalalithaa filed a petition on behalf of the state in August this year with the Supreme Court, urging Karnataka to release water as per mandate. The Supreme Court (SC) in response to the petition ordered that Karnataka release water and said that the Karnataka government should “live and let live.” Karnataka, though dissatisfied, complied with the order and started releasing water, but on the other hand, pressure from the political circles and the public mounted.

The Karnataka Chief Minister Siddharamaiah filed a petition with the SC to stay the order. While the SC refused to stay the order, it reduced water to be released from 15,000 cusecs to 12,000 cusecs. This leads to a repeat of 2007.

Mobs attacked businesses with Tamil Names in Bengaluru. Over 30 busses of the private bus operator KPN were burnt down. Violence also erupted on the Bengaluru-Mysuru Highway.

“The first incident of arson was reported from NICE road, Electronics City around 11.30am when miscreants set a goods truck of Tamil Nadu registraion on fire. Four more trucks, all from Tamil Nadu, were set ablaze in Nayandanahalli Junction and a mob attacked policemen who tried to stop them,” read a Times of India report. In retaliation, the police opened fire, and two people have reportedly lost their lives in the violence that ensued.

The Central government sent around 1,000 anti-riot personnel and around 10 companies of Border Security Force and Indo-Tibetian border police to both the states. While Siddharamaiah and his counterpart J.Jayalalithaa wrote angry letters to each other, Section 144 was imposed in Bengaluru city, Mandya, Mysuru, Srirangapatna and near four dams in the Cauvery basin.

On the other side of the border, people from Karnataka were mobbed, businesses operated by people from the state vandalized. Memes and posts against Sandalwood actors went viral, and petrol bombs were hurled at a popular restaurant under the Udupi banner in Chennai.

Over the years, nature of monsoon alone has given the people from both the states a break from continuing the violence. Important questions arise from this socio-political issue that has created an “uneasy disposition” in both the states. History traces those incidents of mob violence as uncontrollable only when it has been planned by institutions of authority. Are the parties in power refusing to sit down to settle the stalemate, in a bid to gain political sympathy?

War over water politics

The violent protest over the water politics that the country is witnessing today traces its origin way back in 1892. A dispute between the Madras Presidency (under the British Raj) and the Princely state of Mysore turned into a major issue when they came up to the terms with sharing the river water between the two states of Tamil Nadu and Karnataka. Since that day, Cauvery water has been a bone of contention between the Tamil Nadu and Karnataka. In the year 1910, both the states decided on the construction of dams on the Cauvery River.

The issue that originated decades back kept troubling the regions of both the states as few years after the decision on water sharing was taken, Karnataka stopped the release of water to Tamil Nadu which led to the waste of many crops and thus problem begin to rise again. At this time the Tamil Nadu government led by Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa sued the Karnataka government for contempt of court.

There was no fire between the two states until this year September 5, when the issue of water sharing came into the limelight again. With the Supreme Court deciding on releasing 15,000 cusecs daily to Tamil Nadu the fire within the state of Karnataka has escalated. This not only led to the breakdown of a huge mass protest but has also left the state to standstill.

The disproportionate ratio of water sharing between the states that led to the lack of clarity on sharing the Cauvery waters in  years when the state suffers from lack of proper monsoon lies becomes the heart of the tussle that ignites the initial fire every now and again between Karnataka and Tamil Nadu.

According to Karnataka Law Minister T B Jayachandra, the reservoirs in the Cauvery basin in Karnataka has the capacity to reserve only about 51 tmc of water at present, the people of state feels this quantity of water to be sufficient only to meet the need of the drinking water for the people in south Karnataka and not enough for release to Tamil Nadu.

“When the monsoon does not deliver to its full potential, neighbours turn foes in the Cauvery River basin in south India.” said Jayachandra. Over the last few years Tamil Nadu has become heavily dependent on the Cauvery River. Most of the agricultural land built in the region was near the river and thus most of the livelihood was totally dependent on Cauvery River. Today these poor farmers are arguing that their livelihood would get seriously affected if there happens to be a change in the distribution of water all of a sudden.

As per a report released on February 5, 2007 the Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal (CWDT) had ordered Karnataka to release 192 tmc of water to Tamil Nadu during regular monsoon, which the state failed to do. And following this came up the Supreme Court’s verdict, the Cauvery water-sharing row that turned the whole frame into more devastating. The verdict has escalated resulting in mass protests and bandhs called by pro-Kannada leaders across the two states. Many buses had remained stranded over the past few days, which were once used to be full with crowd. This is not the ultimate scenario of the water war.

The state is today witnessing some sporadic incidents of attacks may it be on the people or on a hotel. Following this the agitation within the individual souls have turned so worst that there are also reports of pelting of stones, ruckus at a bank and attacks on vehicles from both the States. Nevertheless to bring down the situation to a notch below the Supreme Court has modified its order and has redirected Karnataka to release 10,000 cusecs a day till September 20.

But has this step finally brought some relief to the problems which both the states were witnessing till today? The answer still remains unclear, no improvement as such has happened over the last few days but rather the situation has worsened and with that the future of the farmers is again under question.