It is well known that the availability of the resources on earth is limited still our needs are persistent, and if we define our necessity; they are just a wastage of resources. We can reduce those demands of ours but the culture of flaunting pulls ourselves and the earth tends to suffer due to those demands.
If we envisage our future, the overuse of resources paints a clear picture of the scarcity we will confront. So for making the future vivid, we in India have various tribunals such as Inter-State Water Disputes Tribunals. Let us understand how does tribunal works.
States with a dispute on the river water:
1) Madhya Pradesh, Maharastra, Gujarat, Rajasthan tussle for Narmada.
2)Krishna river is a problem for Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Telangana.
3)Kerala, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Puducherry are scuffling for Cauvery.
4)While the Periyar river is a concern for Tamil Nadu and Kerala.
Structure of Inter-state water dispute tribunal
• The resolution of the Inter-state river water dispute tribunal is governed by the inter-state water disputes act, 1956. According to union list chapter 56, the regulation and development of inter-state rivers and river valleys to the extent declared by Parliament shall be expedient in the public interest. If a State Government requests a water dispute and the Central Government is of opinion that the water dispute cannot be settled by negotiations, then a Water Disputes Tribunal is constituted for the adjudication of the water dispute.
• In 2002 Sarkaria Commission recommended amendments like setting up the tribunal and a time slot of 3 years to give a judgement.
Issues in the structure of the tribunal
• The formation of the tribunal is not multidisciplinary, also the member included must be of judicial background only.
• It is now difficult to establish a baseline for adjudication due to the lack of reliable water data that is acceptable to all parties.
• The growing nexus between water and politics have transformed the disputes into turfs of vote bank politics.
• At too many phases of the process, there is too much discretion, partly due to the complexity of the procedure.
The Inter-State River Water Disputes (Amendment) Bill, 2017
• This amendment was introduced to further streamline the process of judgement in Lok sabha in March 2017.
• To give this tribunal a frame of permanency for the matters relating to river water distribution.
• The dispute so-referred to the Tribunal shall be assigned by the Chairperson of the Tribunal to a Bench of the Tribunal for adjudication.
• The requirement to publish the judgement and the proceeding in the official gazette has been removed.
• The bill adds that the decision of the bench of the tribunal will be final and binding for all the parties involved in the case.
• The Bill was referred to Parliamentary Standing Committee on Water Resources for examination.
• As a result, the Ministry has drafted a Cabinet Note for Official Amendments to the Inter-State River Water Disputes (Amendment) Bill, 2017.
The Centre’s decision to set up a permanent tribunal could be a major step towards streamlining the process of adjudication. Also, to enhance cooperative federalism, parochial mindsets that prioritise regional concerns above national concerns should be discouraged. So that the disputes must be resolved earliest as possible and political opportunism shall be avoided.
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