Justice Abhay Manohar Sapre, a sitting judge of the Supreme Court of India, was appointed as the chairman of the Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal on 21 February 2017. He was nominated for the post by the Chief Justice JS Khehar.
The post was vacant since Justice Balbir Singh Chauhan resigned from the post. Justice Chauhan, who retired from the apex court in July 2014, was heading the Cauvery Water Disputes tribunal as its Chairperson.
In addition to this, Justice Sapre’s appointment as Chairman of the tribunal turns up to be a significant one as the Supreme Court will start hearing the Cauvery case on a regular basis from 21 March 2017.
Earlier in December 2016, the Union Cabinet approved a proposal to set up a single, permanent Tribunal to adjudicate all inter-state river water disputes subsuming existing tribunals. The tribunal was established with an aim to speed up water sharing disputes among states. In addition to this, the Union Government also proposed to float some benches to look into disputes.
About Justice AM Sapre
• Sapre, who enrolled as an advocate in January 1978, practised on civil constitutional and labour sides in the High Court of Madhya Pradesh in Jabalpur.
• In October 1999, he was appointed as an additional judge of the High Court of Madhya Pradesh and confirmed as a permanent judge in October 2001.
• In February 2011, he was transferred to Rajasthan High Court and assumed charge at Principal Seat Jodhpur.
• In April 2012, he was transferred to Chhattisgarh High Court
• In March 2013, he was transferred to the High Court of Manipur as Chief Justice where he assumed the charge as the First Chief Justice of High Court of Manipur.
• In October 2013, he was transferred to the Gauhati High Court, Guwahati as its Chief Justice.
• In August 2014, he was elevated and took charge as Judge of the Supreme Court.
• Born on 28 August 1954, Sapre will retire on 27 August 2019.
Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal (CWDT)
The Tribunal was constituted by the Union Government on 2 June 1990 with an aim to give its ruling on the water dispute regarding inter-state river Cauvery and the river valley thereof. It was constituted under the chairmanship Justice NP Singh.
Cauvery water sharing dispute
The water sharing dispute of Cauvery is a long pending dispute between Karnataka and Tamil Nadu. The dispute saw a new height in 2016 when Tamil Nadu government claimed its share in the water from Cauvery, which was denied by Karnataka government. Karnataka said no with an argument that it does not have much water to share due to drought in the state.
Earlier, both states challenged the award of the Cauvery Waters Tribunal in the Supreme Court. The award was delivered in 2007 by a tribunal headed by Justice NP Singh. In its decision, the tribunal decided the usable quantum of water of the River at 740 tmcft. Entitlement of water to different states as per the order of tribunal was
• Karnataka is entitled to 270 tmcft
• Tamil Nadu to 419 tmcft
• Kerala 30 tmcft
• Puducherry 7 tmcft
• Apart from this, the tribunal allocated 14 tmcft for environmental purposes.
The supreme court in its last order directed Karnataka government to release 2000 cusecs of water on a daily basis to Tamil Nadu till further orders, but the state failed to comply with the water and didn’t release any water for Tamil Nadu.