The Supreme Court said on Wednesday it was not opposed to an amicable settlement of the Sutlej-Yamuna Link (SYL) canal row and asked both Haryana and Punjab to find a solution to it soon.
“We do not want to shut the door to an amicable solution,” bench headed by Justice PC Ghose said after it was informed that the Centre had invited the two states for talks to explore an out-of court settlement. The meeting is fixed for April 20, the court was informed after which it deferred the case to April 27.
“The Government of India is very keen to find a solution,” solicitor general Ranjit Kumar told the court.
Although the court gave the Centre a chance to mediate between the two states, the bench made it clear that on the next hearing it would proceed with the matter if the attempt to negotiate fails. It was clarified to both the parties that the only issue before the court was the execution of its verdict allowing construction of the canal.
During the brief hearing, senior advocate Ram Jethmalani, appearing for Punjab, said he has been saying that the dispute cannot be settled by the judiciary and the parties should sit together and try to find a solution. The senior advocate was optimistic about the Centre’s move to step in to find a solution.
The Centre placed before the court a letter written by the ministry of water resources, River Development and Ganga to the chief secretaries of both the states intimating them about the proposed meeting on April 20.