[Polity] Under what Article of the Constitution can the Union Government play its role in settling inter-state water disputes?

The Inter-state river water is the central subject under 7th schedule’s Union List in Indian Constitution. The centre Government has establish a Inter-state River water Dispute Tribunal under Article 262 to solve any dispute in this matter, under it. The Cauvery water dispute among peninsular stages and Satluj, Yamuna-water disputes in the North have been at the Central stage from time to time. A Bill terminating all its previous accords on river waters has been passed recently by the Punjab Assembly, which got the assent of the Governor and became a low. Whether the Act of Punjab Assembly is constitu-tionally valid this was the question of debate.
Punjab contends that Ravi, Beas, and Satluj passes through Punjab territory only and the water requirements of Punjab itself are not fulfilled, so it is not bound to distribute waters to Haryana, Rajasthan and Delhi. The Central Government was ordered by the SC to report on the construction of Satluj-Yamuna Link (SYL) Canal work by July 13, 2004. Therefore, the Punjab Assembly Passed the Punjab Agreement (Abolition) Act, 2004.

This Act has the effect of invalidating provisions, of the Indo-Pak Indus Agreement 1960, in which Rajasthan is declared a riparian state to have benefit of the river water, but the Act of Punjab Assembly provides to exclude Rajasthan, too, from the benefits of water. Resultantly, the question has emerged that Rajasthan was given benefit of river water by the Central Agreement since 1960 and Haryana was a part of Punjab, can Rajasthan be excluded by Punjab overriding the Act of the Central Government? Now the ball is in Supreme Court’s half and it is upto the SC to check the constitutionality of this Act of the Punjab Assembly.

Article 262 of the Indian Constitution provides a role for the Central government in adjudicating conflicts surrounding inter-state rivers that arise among the states/regional governments. This Act further has undergone amendments subsequently and its most recent amendment took place in the year 2002. IRWD Act (section 2c2) validates the previous agreements (if any) among the basin states to harness water of an interstate river/ river valley. River waters use / harnessing is included in states jurisdiction (entry 17 of state list, Schedule 7of Indian Constitution).

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