New Delhi: The government's delay in forming Cauvery Board is "sheer contempt", the Supreme Court said today. The court asked the water resources secretary to be present at the next hearing, which will be held on May 14 -- well after the Karnataka assembly elections.
On 3 May, the court had asked the Centre to file an affidavit, detailing what steps it was taking to form the authority or a scheme that will implement the court's formula of dividing Cauvery waters between Tamil Nadu and Karnataka.
Yesterday, the Centre had asked for 10 more days to complete the task, saying it needs time to fine0tune the details. A new deadline would push the formation of the Cauvery Water Board till after the elections - a time frame that part of the Centre's original wishlist.
Karnataka too, has flouted the court's order to be ready to release 4 TMC or thousand million cubic feet of water to Tamil Nadu. Yesterday morning, the state told the top court that it was not in a position to release any more water now.
The long awaited Cauvery Board is expected to implement the water sharing formula between Tamil Nadu and Karnataka, as suggested by the top court in February.
At the court today, Tamil Nadu alleged that it has been "taken for a ride" by the Centre, which is waiting for the "votes to be cast on 12 May" in the Karnataka assembly elections.
Pointing to the violence over the Supreme Court's order on a law meant for the protection of Dalits, the Centre said the Cauvery issue was equally sensitive. "In the last hearing, we had asked for time. Now the scheme is ready and waiting for Cabinet nod and the cabinet is in Karnataka," Attorney General KK Venugopal, the government's topmost law officer, told the court.