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Supreme Court issues notice to Centre over alleged neglect in drought-relief funds for Karnataka

The Karnataka Congress government's plea for drought relief, amounting to 8 thousand crores, has prompted a legal battle with the central government, with the Supreme Court issuing a notice to the Centre. Senior advocate Kapil Sibal urged urgency, while the Centre emphasized dialogue over litigation. The dispute highlights growing tensions between state and central authorities.

Supreme Court issues notice to Centre over alleged neglect in drought-relief funds for Karnataka vkp
First Published Apr 8, 2024, 1:21 PM IST

The Karnataka Congress government had taken its plea for drought relief to the highest court of the land, sparking a legal battle against the central government. The Supreme Court has now issued a notice to the Centre, following Karnataka's petition urging the release of funds amounting to a staggering 8 thousand crores.

Senior advocate Kapil Sibal, representing the Karnataka government, pressed for urgency in the case, urging the Election Commission's involvement and requesting a swift resolution within a month. However, the court opted to wait for the Centre's response before considering further action.

'Let SC decide on drought relief funds': FM Nirmala Sitharaman responds to Karnataka's appeal

On behalf of the Centre, SG Mehta argued that Karnataka could have resolved the matter through dialogue rather than filing 32 petitions. He emphasized the need for cooperation between the Union and the States, highlighting the growing trend of state governments resorting to legal action.

The dispute stems from Karnataka's accusation of neglect by the Central Agriculture Department and the National Disaster Management Authority in releasing drought relief funds. This move by Karnataka marks the first instance of a state directly approaching the Supreme Court for such relief. Meanwhile, the legal battle over relief funds has escalated in the south, with Tamil Nadu also seeking compensation and alleging discrimination against southern states in grant distribution. 

Karnataka Congress govt moves to SC against Centre seeking drought relief funds

Before filing the petition, Chief Minister Siddaramaiah consulted with government ministers, officials, and legal experts. The funds in question include allocations for crop loss compensation, relief for affected families, drinking water supply, and cattle care, totalling over 18,000 crores.

In another case, the Supreme Court has barred the Kerala government from acquiring additional loans, referring the matter to a Constitution Bench for further deliberation. These legal manoeuvres underscore the complex interplay between state and central governance, with issues of relief funding and financial autonomy at the forefront.

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