The Punjab government on Friday asked the Centre in the Supreme Court to come out with details of the presidential reference over the Sutlej-Yamuna Link canal issue, including why it was made.
Haryana, on its part, told the court that 2004 Punjab law terminating all water sharing agreements with Haryana, Rajasthan and Delhi breached principles of separation of powers and was also contrary to the country’s federal polity.
Appearing for Punjab, senior advocate Rajeev Dhawan told the five-judge constitution bench: “This reference is of fundamental importance. It is important for Union of India to explain why reference has been made by it. We want to know what we have to answer.
The bench headed by justice AR Dave is conducting a hearing on the presidential reference pertaining to Punjab Termination of Agreements Act, 2004. “This case has come from Centre and not from Haryana. We would like to see the views of teh central government,” Dhawan said.
Meanwhile, assailing the 2004 Punjab Act, Haryana told the bench that the Punjab assembly can’t pass a law to neutralise the judgment of the apex court in which its own executive was a party to dispute.
Addressing Punjab’s contention that there was a change of circumstance, senior counsel Shyam Divan, appearing for Haryana, said the Punjab assembly was not competent to enact a law on the grounds that the dispute had already been decided by the court, the extra-territorial nature of the legislative act and the federal structure of the country’s polity.
Referring to the apex court judgment on Cauvery water dispute between Karnataka and Tamil Nadu and dispute between Kerala and Tamil Nadu over Tamil Nadu’s demand for increasing the water level in Mullaperiyar dam to 142 feet, Divan said that any change of circumstance could only be considered by the court alone and legislature can’t step in.