The Supreme Court will hear a plea seeking criminal contempt proceedings against Punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal and deputy CM Sukhbir Singh Badal for their public pronouncements that they will not comply with the top court’s verdict on the Sutleh-Yamuna Link (SYL) canal.
A bench of chief justice TS Thakur and justice DYChandrachud said that the matter would be heard in due course as counsel Rakesh Dahiya, appearing for the petitioner Satbir Hooda, mentioned the matter for an early hearing.
With an eye on Punjab elections scheduled for early next year, the Akalis led by Badals and the Congress by Capt. Amarinder Singh are engaged in upstaging each other in political rhetoric after the top court on November 10 in its advisory opinion had held that the Punjab Termination of Agreements Act, 2004, was not in conformity with the provisions of the Constitution and thus unconstitutional.
The Supreme Court had ruled that Punjab has no right to unilaterally terminate water-sharing pacts with neighbouring states.
Soon after the apex court advisory opinion on the Presidential reference, the Punjab cabinet on November 15 de-notified the land acquired for the Sutlej-Yamuna Link (SYL) canal nearly four decades back. The Punjab government has made it clear that it would not spare even a drop of Ravi and Beas rivers’ water for Haryana.
In March this year, the Punjab assembly had “unanimously” passed a bill to return the land acquired for the construction of the SYL canal. The top court had on March 17 ordered status quo on the SYL and appointed the Union home secretary as well as the Punjab chief secretary and director general of police as receivers of the canal and assets associated with it.
However, the top court’s constitution bench refused to extend the March 17 interim order after giving its advisory opinion on the Presidential reference on the constitutionality of the Punjab Termination of Agreements Act, 2004. The constitution bench had said that it could not say anything further on the interim order as after giving its advisory opinion, nothing survives before it.