Constitute Mahanadi tribunal: Supreme Court

Why in News?

The Supreme Court recently directed the Centre to set up a tribunal within a month to resolve the long-standing dispute between Odisha and Chhattisgarh over the sharing of Mahanadi water.



Constitutional Provision

Article 262-Provides for the adjudication of interstate water disputes. It makes two provisions-

i)Parliament may by law provide for the adjudication of any disputes or complaint with respect to the distribution, and control of waters of any inter-state river and river valley.

ii)Parliament may also provide that neither the supreme court nor any other court is to exercise jurisdiction in respect of any such dispute or complaint.

NOTE4STUDENTS– despite the Provision of Article 262, the Supreme Court can adjudicate matters on Inter-state water disputes. This is possible when parties approach the apex court under Article 136 and Article 141.

Article 136-The Supreme Court may, in its discretion, grant special leave to appeal from any judgment, decree, determination, sentence or order in any cause or matter passed or made by any court or tribunal in the territory of India.

Article 141-It envisages the supremacy of the Supreme Court. It states that the law declared by the Supreme Court shall be binding on all courts within the territory of India.


Under the Provision of Article 262, the Parliament has enacted 2 laws –

i) River Boards Act (1956)-It provides for the establishment of River Boards for the regulation and development of inter-state river and river valleys. A River Board is established by the central government on the request of the state governments.

ii) Inter-State Water Disputes Act-It empowers the central government to set up an ad hoc tribunal for the adjudication of a dispute between two or more states in relation to the waters of an inter-state river or river valley.

a) Such a tribunal should have three members who should be judges of the supreme court or the high court and are appointed by the Chief Justice of India.

b) The government of India can appoint up to two assessors to assist the tribunal.

c) After considering all the aspects as may be necessary, the tribunal gives its report to the government of India; if the riparian states or the government of India need any clarification, they can apply seeking such clarification from the tribunal within 90 days.

d) The award is binding on the parties and it is deemed equivalent to an order or decree of the Supreme Court. The act also empowers the central government to make schemes and constitute an authority to implement the tribunal’s award.


NOTE 4 STUDENTS-The Inter-State Water Disputes (Amendment) Bill 2017, has been introduced in the Lok Sabha. It seeks to set up a permanent water dispute tribunal.

About Mahanadi

i)The 858 Kilometers long Mahanadi river flows through the states of Chhattisgarh and Odisha.

ii)The major tributaries of Mahanadi are Seonath, Jonk, Hasdo, Mand, Ib, Ong, Tel etc.

iii)The Mahanadi river empties into the Bay of Bengal via several channels near Paradeep

iv)Hirakud Dam is built across the Mahanadi River, about 15 kilometres (9.3 mi) from Sambalpur n Odisha.


Source-The Hindu.