SYL face-off today: SC cracks whip,wants peace maintained
The Supreme Court told the Punjab Government on Wednesday that the Sutlej-Yamuna Link Canal (SYL) has to be constructed and declined to accept the state’s contention that there should be a political solution of the problem.punjab Updated: Feb 23, 2017 10:58 IST
The Supreme Court told the Punjab Government on Wednesday that the Sutlej-Yamuna Link Canal (SYL) has to be constructed and declined to accept the state’s contention that there should be a political solution of the problem.
“We are at a stage where the decree has to be executed,” a bench headed by Justice PC Ghose told senior counsel Ram Jethmalani who argued for Punjab.
The court asked governments of Punjab and Haryana to maintain law and order in their respective states. The status quo, restraining Punjab from returning land meant for the canal to its owners was also reiterated.
The Centre was directed to maintain surveillance in view of the impending march by INLD activists, which could trigger a law and order problem.
During the hearing, Centre rebutted Punjab’s charges that it did not take a proactive approach to resolve the dispute over water-sharing of Ravi-Beas rivers. “I (Centre) can’t sit in judgment over the decree...If both the states approach us only then we can mediate...” solicitor general Ranjit Kumar said.
Jethmalani urged the Centre to act as an arbitrator. He said the water sharing agreement was signed in 1981 and the water flow has significantly decreased in the rivers. He added it was not possible to execute the agreement now.
He informed the bench about the INLD protest and said over a lakh people planned to march into Punjab with spades to start digging at the SYL canal construction site. He blamed the Haryana government for granting permission for the march.
“Let’s hope good sense will prevail. Violence will not take place...” Jethmalani said.
The senior counsel’s apprehension was addressed by Haryana government counsel, senior advocate Shyam Diwan. He said his client was committed to maintaining law and order.
Once again the bench declined Jethmalani’s request to fix the next hearing on March 11, after the poll results, and listed the matter for a hearing on March 2.
The court took on record Punjab’s affidavit expressing its inability to recover land that has already been returned.