Speaking to Survarna News, two retired advocate generals, BV Acharya and Prof Ravivarma spoke  on the legal options before Karnataka.

 

Both legal experts have opined that considering the water condition of Karnataka, the Supreme Court should not consider it as a Constitutional crisis but should look at the issue in a broader sense.

 

What BV Acharya says:

• The Karnataka Assembly has taken a unanimous decision on Cauvery water and has rightly prioritised drinking water over irrigation.

• The next move of the government is based on the verdict of the Supreme Court. If the SC imposes a 'contempt of court', we need to wait and see if it takes either the Chief Secretary of Karnataka or the government (Cabinet) as the respondent.

• Even if the Chief Secretary has been made the respondent, he cannot be punished as it is his duty to follow the decision of the Cabinet.

• The decision will not amount to a Constitutional crisis. During the next hearing, the Karnataka government may request the Supreme Court to transfer the case to the higher bench. A transfer might be initiated by the SC itself. The state might even request to transfer the case to the Constitutional Bench - comprising of five justices.

• Tamil Nadu can file a petition for contempt of court against Karnataka. The state can reason that Karnataka did not comply to the SC decision on purpose and wilfully.

What Prof Ravivarma says:

• The Assembly’s decision will not lead to a Constitutional crisis. The Assembly has exercised a right within its purview. But the Supreme Court can review the decision taken by the Assembly.

• The Assembly is sovereign. The Supreme Court cannot question the decisions taken by the Assembly. It cannot even give any order regarding the Assembly sessions.

• The SC should not take the Karnataka Assembly decision as a government order. It should respect the Assembly’s decision.

•    The Supreme Court cannot ask for details of the Assembly session.

•    Both the Assembly and the Supreme Court are created by the Constitution under a federal system, and the direction and decision of both should be respected.