The Supreme Court on Tuesday said it would hear the Sutlej-Yamuna Link (SYL) canal issue in due course of time, but didn’t fix a date for the same.
Hearing a petition filed by a lawyer on behalf of a NGO for criminal contempt of court against Punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal and his son and deputy CM Sukhbir Singh Badal, a bench headed by Chief Justice of India TS Thakur decided to take up the SYL matter in due course of time.
According to the petitioner, both the Badals said they would not follow the apex court’s order on the SYL canal issue.
The court on Thursday termed the law passed by Punjab in 2004 to terminate the SYL canal water sharing agreement with neighbouring states as “unconstitutional”.
Holding that the Punjab Termination of Agreement Act 2004 was not in conformity with the provisions of the Constitution, the court answered in the negative all the four questions referred to it in a presidential reference.
A constitution bench of the court ruled that Punjab could not have taken a “unilateral” decision to terminate the agreement with Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Rajasthan, Jammu and Kashmir, Delhi and Chandigarh to share of the Ravi-Beas river waters.
Responding to the apex court’s order, Sukhbir had said that Punjab would not share water with any other state.
“A decision taken at an emergency meeting of the Punjab cabinet said that Punjab Government would not allow the SYL to be built at any cost nor a single brick would be allowed to be laid for its construction by any agency,” said Sukhbir.
Badal said, “As far as legal steps are concerned, advocate will advise us on what can be legally done. Our main aim is to not let the water go, and we will do anything for that. We want to assure people of Punjab that only we can do this, and resignation in Congress is just a drama.”
Punjab plunged into a political crisis after the Supreme Court ruled that a state law scrapping water-sharing agreements with other states is unconstitutional.
The court also ruled that the SYL canal, which is at the centre of a row between Punjab and Haryana, has to be completed.
After the apex court’s order, Punjab Congress president Amarinder Singh resigned from his Lok Sabha seat.