CJI NV Ramana (File photo)
NEW DELHI: The Andhra Pradesh government on Wednesday spurned CJI N V Ramana’s practical suggestion to resolve the dispute with Telangana on apportionment of Krishna river water shares through mediation, saying it would prefer a legal battle in the Supreme Court to stop the neighbour from “usurping water” in excess of its share.
The CJI had on Monday suggested that the two states resolve the dispute over apportioning of the river water through mediation instead of spending time and energy over litigation.
However, he caveated it by saying, “If Andhra Pradesh wants adjudication of legal issues raised in its writ petition, I will recuse and post the petition before another bench.”
The CJI, who had as an advocate represented the undivided Andhra Pradesh from which Telengana was carved out, said, “I belong to both the states. I can arrange for mediation and supervise it for a possible resolution of the Krishna water sharing dispute.”
On Wednesday, AP counsel G Umapathy informed the court that the YS Jagan Reddy government would prefer adjudication of the issues raised by the state in its writ petition, which pushed the CJI to make good on his words and recuse from hearing of the petition.
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the Centre, said the Union government has full faith in the CJI and that it would like the CJI-led bench to hear the writ petition filed by AP. However, Justice Ramana remained firm and ordered the case to be posted before another bench.
In its writ petition, Andhra Pradesh has accused Telangana of depriving people of AP of their legitimate share of Krishna water. The bigger of the two neighbours alleged that Telangana was not following decisions taken on river water management in the Apex Council constituted under the Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Act of 2014 as also the directions of the Krishna River Management Board (KRMB) constituted under the 2014 Act and directions of the Centre.
It has also blamed the Centre for not notifying the exact jurisdiction of KRMB. “This is resulting in illegal acts on part of Telangana,” it said. However, a day after AP moved the SC, the Centre on July 16 notified the Godavari and Krishna river management boards, giving them more teeth to administer, regulate, operate and maintain projects listed on these two rivers in Telangana and AP.