Single tribunal to arbitrate row over river water

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on July 10, 2019 Published on July 10, 2019

The Union Cabinet on Wednesday decided to amend the Inter-State River Water Disputes Act, 1956, to ensure faster and more efficient adjudication of river water disputes between riparian States.

Per the proposed amendment, all Inter-State river water disputes will be handled by a single national level tribunal in place of multiple tribunals currently exist in the country.

“A new tribunal with permanent establishment and permanent office and infrastructure will obviate the need for establishing a separate tribunal for each water dispute, which has been found time-consuming,” an official statement said.

The tribunal is planned in such a manner that all disputes will have to be settled within a timeframe of two years, said Prakash Javadekar, Minister of Information and Broadcasting.

According to Javadekar, there are currently nine different tribunals in the country and many of them have been operational for decades. Some of the major water dispute tribunals for allocating river water use by the riparian States are the rivers of Cauvery, Narmada, Godavari and Krishna.

The idea of the single tribunal with different benches is to make the present institutional architecture robust, Javadekar said. The fixation of strict timelines would result in expeditious resolution of disputes relating to inter-State rivers.

Under the existing Act, there is a provision for establishing a dispute resolution committee by the Centre for resolving amicably within a maximum period of one and half years. But when it is not settled through the mediation, the Centre constitutes a water dispute tribunal for the adjudication of the dispute.

Published on July 10, 2019
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