Pennaiyar River Dispute


    In News

    • Pennaiyar river tribunal deadline of three months fixed by the Supreme Court has expired.


    • In 2018, Tamil Nadu filed an original suit against Karnataka for constructing check dams and diversion structures on the Pennaiyar river.
    • On November 30, 2019, Tamil Nadu formally requested the Union government to constitute a Tribunal for adjudication of disputes over the waters of the river.
    • In mid-December, the court gave the Centre three months to constitute the tribunal to resolve the dispute between Tamil Nadu and Karnataka.

    Pennaiyar River

    • The river originates in the Nandi Hills in the Chikkaballapura district of Karnataka and flows through Tamil Nadu before emptying into the Bay of Bengal.
    • It is also known as the South Pennar River, Dakshina Pinakini in Kannada and Thenpennai or Ponnaiyar or Pennaiyar in Tamil.
    • This is the second longest river in Tamil Nadu, with a length of 497km, after the Kaveri. 
    • It is the second largest interstate East flowing river basin among the 12 basins lying between Pennar and Cauvery basins. It covers a large area in the State of Tamil Nadu besides the areas covered in the states of Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh.
    • Bangalore, Hosur, Tiruvannamalai, and Cuddalore are the important cities on the banks of South Pennar river. 


    Inter-state Dispute Resolution Mechanism

    • Attempts are usually made to resolve inter-state disputes with the cooperation of both sides, with the Centre working as a facilitator or a neutral mediator.

    Constitutional methods to resolve the inter-state disputes: 

    • Judicial redressal: As per the Article 131 of the Constitution the Supreme Court in its original jurisdiction decides disputes: 
      • between the Government of India and one or more States; or
      • between the Government of India and any State or States on one side and one or more other States on the other; or
      • between two or more States.
    • Inter-state Council: Article 263 of the Constitution gives powers to the President to set up an Inter-state Council for the resolution of disputes between states. 
      • The Council is envisaged as a forum for discussion between the states and the Centre. In 1988, the Sarkaria Commission suggested that the Council should exist as a permanent body, and in 1990 it came into existence through a Presidential Order.
    • Functions of the Council: 
      • inquiring into and advising upon disputes which may have arisen between States;
      • investigating and discussing subjects in which some or all of the States, or the Union and one or more of the States, have a common interest; or
      • making recommendations upon any such subject and, in particular, recommendations for the better coordination of policy and action with respect to that subject.
    • In 2021, the Centre reconstituted the Inter-state Council and the body now has 10 Union Ministers as permanent invitees. 
    • The standing committee of the Council has been reconstituted with Home Minister as Chairman. The finance minister and the Chief Ministers of Maharashtra, UP, and Gujarat are some of the other standing committee members.