"IN RE : NETWORKING OF RIVERS" vs . Supreme Court, 27-02-2012

CourtSupreme Court (India)
JudgeS.H. KAPADIA,A.K. PATNAIK,SWATANTER KUMAR
Parties "IN RE : NETWORKING OF RIVERS"......
Docket NumberW.P.(C) No.-000512-000512 / 2002
REPORTABLE
IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
CIVIL ORIGINAL JURISDICTION
WRIT PETITION (CIVIL) NO. 512 OF 2002
“IN RE : NETWORKING OF RIVERS”
WITH
WRIT PETITION (CIVIL) NO. 668 OF 2002
J U D G M E N T
Swatanter Kumar, J.
1. Nearly ten years back, the petitioner in Writ Petition
(Civil) No. 668 of 2002, a practicing advocate, instituted the
petition based on some study that there was a need to
conserve water and properly utilize the available resources.
Thus, the present petition has been instituted with the
following prayers:-
“a. Issue an appropriate writ order or
direction, more particularly a writ in
the nature of Mandamus directing the
respondent no. 1 to take appropriate
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steps/action to nationalize all the
rivers in the country.
b. Issue an appropriate writ order or
direction, more particularly a writ in
the nature of Mandamus, directing
the respondent No. 1 to take
appropriate steps/action to inter link
the rivers in the southern peninsula
namely, Ganga, Kaveri, Vaigai and
Tambaravani.
c. Issue an appropriate writ order or
direction in the nature of mandamus
directing the respondents to
formulate a scheme whereby the
water from the west flowing rivers
could be channelized and equitably
distributed.”
2. The above directions were sought by the petitioner
against the Central Government as well as against various
State Governments, for effective management of the water
resources in the country by nationalization and inter-linking
of rivers from Ganga - Cauveri, Vaigai-Tambaravarmi up to
Cape Kumari. According to him, as early as in 1834, Sir
Arthur Cotton, who had constructed the Godavari and
Krishna dams, suggested a plan called the ‘Arthur Cotton
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Scheme’ to link the Ganga and Cauveri rivers. In 1930, Sir
C.P. Ramaswamy Aiyar also suggested and supported such
-
a scheme. Thereafter, various political leaders of the
country have supported the cause; but no such schemes
have actually been implemented. It is the case of the
petitioner that the Inter-State Water Disputes Act, 1956 (for
short ‘the Act’) and the River Boards Act, 1956 were enacted
by the Parliament under Article 262 read with Entry 56 of
List-I of the Seventh Schedule to the Constitution of India,
1950 (hereafter, ‘the Constitution’). Due to reluctance of
water-rich States, the National Water Development Agency
(hereafter, ‘NWDA’) has not been allowed to undertake
detailed survey and it is argued that only by nationalization
of the rivers, by the Government of India, this problem can
be resolved to some extent. The petitioner had filed a writ
before the High Court of Judicature at Madras, being Writ
Petition No. 6207 of 1983, praying for various reliefs. This
Writ Petition was disposed of without any effective orders by
the High Court. Persisting with his effort, the petitioner
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