The Supreme Court on Wednesday asked both Haryana and Punjab to maintain law and order in light of the proposed march by activists of Haryana’s INLD to “dig” the Sutlej-Yamuna Link Canal even as it asked Punjab to honour its orders on the water link.
As a bench of Justice Pinaki Chandra Ghose and Justice Amitava Roy asked both states to maintain law and order, it was told that Director General of Haryana Police has written to Union Home Secretary that the state police will maintain law and order for the march by the Indian National Lok Dal (INLD).
“We will pass an order that there should not be any hassle in maintain law and order,” the bench said, while also making it clear that its orders for completing the construction of the SYL canal stretch falling within its territory has to be honoured by the Punjab.
“This can’t go on. The highest court of the land is passing orders and that is not being honoured,” the bench said underlining: “Enough was enough, every good thing comes to an end, we are keen to finish it.”
It told Punjab that it will have to complete the construction of the SYL canal and only then its plea that the water sharing award was not executable could be looked into.
The court asked both Punjab and Haryana to maintain law and order, as senior counsel Ram Jethmalani told the bench about the planned march into Punjab by one lakh people who would start from Ambala on Thursday morning to enter Punjab and dig the SYL canal.
As senior counsel Jagdeep Dhanka told the court that he was in Chandigarh on the previous day and Haryana government was taking every step to deal with the situation, Jethmalani told the court that the state has given the permissions for the planned march and was encouraging it.
“It would be difficult for this court to cancel the permission”, the bench said as Jethmalani urged the court to intervene.
Asking Solicitor General Rajit Kumar to ask the Central government to have an overview of the situation and maintain general surveillance, the bench asked it to discharge its role in the dispute.
Jethmalani urged the court that the dispute could only be resolved with the assistance of some “good people” from both the sides sitting and the Central government playing the role of a mediator.
The Solicitor General however said that the Central government could play any role in the completion of the construction of SYL canal only when the Punjab Termination of Agreement Act, 2004 was declared unconstitutional.
He told the court that even though constitution bench in its advisory opinion to the Presidential reference had in 2016 held that the Act was unconstitutional but since it was an advisory opinion, the legislation continues to survive.
Fixing March 2 as the next date of hearing, the court said that any settlement through talks can take place only if both the sides are ready. Otherwise it should be legal process and legal process along can take it to its logical conclusion, it added.