Karnataka Chief Minister Jagadish Shettar on Wednesday pressed the Centre not to constitute the Cauvery Management Board till the disposal of civil appeals filed by the State in Supreme Court.
The constitution of the Board is the sole prerogative of the Central government under Section 6 A of the Act of 1956, Shettar told reporters at Kolar and Davanagere when asked about the notification of the final award of the Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal.
"There is no law to say that the Board has to be constituted. It (clearance for the proposed Board) has to come before Parliament, and there has to be discussions. Under law, there is room for amendment," the Chief Minister said.
The notification of the final award sparked protests with members of Kannada outfit, Karnataka Rakshana Vedike (KRV), staging demonstrations in Mysore, Mandya and Bangalore.
Police detained KRV activists who barged into railway stations at Mysore and Bangalore.
Reacting angrily to the Centre notifying the final award of the CWDT, the former Prime Minister and JDS supremo H D Deve Gowda announced "peaceful struggle" against the move.
"If it becomes inevitable, fasting will be Deve Gowda's last resort", he told reporters here.
Karnataka's consistent stand has been that the final award is detrimental to the State's interests. As against Karnataka’s claim of 465 TMC, only 270 TMC has been allocated (for a normal year), among other major concerns.
Shettar said an all party delegation had during a meeting with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on February 18 pressed him not to constitute the Board till the disposal of civil appeals. "We are pressing the Government even now not to constitute the Board".
The Tribunal realising the fact that constitution of a Board or Authority under Section 6 A of the Act of 1956 is the sole prerogative of Central Government and also having regard to the fact that the regulations will have to be approved by Parliament under Section 6 A (7) of the ISRWD Act of 1956, has merely recommended its constitution,according to them.
In its civil appeals before the Supreme Court, Karnataka challenged even the recommendation for the constitution of a Board.
"The proposed Board will adversely affect the absolute authority of the State to regulate its reservoirs derived from Entry-17 of the State List. This would be an unjust and unconstitutional measure which is against the spirit of the Cooperative Federal System. Therefore, it is not appropriate to constitute a Management Board", officials said.
Leader of Opposition in the State Assembly Siddaramaiah sought to blame the State government vis-a-vis the notification, alleging that it gave an undertaking in the apex court that it had no objection for the notification of the final award.