The Supreme Court on Thursday said that the dignity of its decree passed in the Sutlej-Yamuna Link (SYL) canal case must be maintained and the directions implemented .
“The dignity of the decree passed by this court must be maintained. Whether the matter is settled or not settled, we are not bothered about it. We are bothered about implementation of our order,” a bench headed by Justice PC Ghose told solicitor general Ranjit Kumar who informed the court that the Centre had convened talks between Punjab and Haryana on April 20 but the outcome was not known.
There has also been a meeting of the two chief ministers with the Prime Minister, Kumar told the bench. He said the efforts to mediate the issue would continue. On behalf of Haryana, senior counsel Shyam Divan said the state had to wait for several years for the decree passed in 2002. People would lose faith in the judicial system if there was delay in execution of the decree, Divan warned.
Punjab’s advocate, senior counsel RS Suri and Advocate General Atul Nanda continued to assert that it was not possible to execute the decree and it would require time to justify their stand.
The court fixed July 11 to hear the matter. Supreme Court had on April 12 asked the Centre, Punjab and Haryana to finish their talks on the construction of the SYL canal “as soon as it can be”, indicating it will decide the matter if negotiations remained unresolved.
The court is hearing a contempt application filed by Haryana after Punjab returned land acquired for the project to its owners. This was despite the top court ruled in November last that Punjab could not have unilaterally terminated the agreement for water-sharing. Punjab assembly had in 2004 passed a law to call of the pact. A Presidential reference was made to the SC on the issue, which the court answered in negative.
“If it is settled, it’s okay. If it’s not, we will hear and decide it,” the Bench had said.