The Supreme Court reduced on Monday the daily quantum of Cauvery water to be released by Karnataka but increased the duration of the order, expressing displeasure over the deteriorating law-and-order situation across southern India, where life is paralysed by violent strikes.
The top court modified a September 5 order and asked Karnataka to release 12,000 cusecs water to Tamil Nadu per day till September 20.
The earlier order asked for 15,000 cusecs to be released daily for 10 days, triggering violent protests and attacks in both states.
Karnataka wanted the apex court to keep the September 5 order in abeyance for five days but the SC refused to do so, instead modifying the order.
The order came on a day the Cauvery Supervisory Committee was to meet to decide on the quantum of the river’s water to be released to Tamil Nadu and other states.
A bench of justice Dipak Misra and UU Lalit also rapped Karnataka for using the law-and-order situation to seek a modification of an SC order.
“Tell your governments they have to implement the order and maintain law and order,” the court told the Karnataka and Tamil Nadu governments.
“Unless an order is modified, citizens and governments are obliged to comply with it.”
The decision came on a plea by Karnataka that said the state government was facing “huge public pressure” and police prevented attempts to damage public property during recent statewide strikes with great difficulty.
The application also referred to inputs from security agencies that said if the current flow of water was allowed to continue, the situation “may go out of hand”. Tamil Nadu and Karnataka have seen tit-for-tat attacks over the past few days around the sensitive issue.