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Jurisdiction of Supreme Court over the Inter State River Water Disputes Tribunal

Author: Anumeha Smiti, Student, National University of Study and Research In Law, Ranchi, India

ABSTRACT An ongoing tussle over the construction of irrigation projects on River Krishna and River Godavari between the states of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh has prompted the Centre to take steps towards an amicable settlement of the dispute. Inter-state River water disputes in the country date back to the late 1960s when it came to the fore as an expected consequence of the reorganization of states. The sole legislation in place to guide settlements in such cases is the Inter-State River Water Dispute Act of 1956. The Act strives to provide for an adjudication mechanism for the resolution of such disputes through a specialised Tribunal. With quite a few river water disputes pending in the Tribunals for decades, it is pertinent for the Apex Court to take steps towards the regulation of the matter. However, a strict reading of the provisions of the Act bars the jurisdiction of the Apex Court over inter-state river water disputes. And with the uproar against the judiciary’s alleged transgression into the other compartments, it is imperative to establish the judiciary’s legitimate jurisdiction over certain matters. Through an evaluation of the landmark judgments made in the history of the jurisprudence involving Inter-State River Water Disputes, an attempt has been made in this paper to assess the existence and extent of the Supreme Court’s jurisdiction over inter-state river water disputes.

Keywords: Interstate River Water Dispute, Article 262 of the Indian Constitution, Jurisdiction of Supreme Court.

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