The Water Resources Ministry has moved a Cabinet note to amend the Inter-State River Water Disputes Act, 1956, to scrap the five inter-State water dispute resolution tribunals and replace them with a single permanent tribunal to resolve matters.The move to scrap the existing tribunals and replace them with one body was first mooted by the then Law Minister M. Veerappa Moily in 2011.The Centre plans to have a ‘standing tribunal’ for the purpose having several members. The members could be posted to various benches and one bench of three members could deal with more than one dispute.
Interstate River Water Disputes Act
The Interstate River Water Disputes Act, 1956 (IRWD was enacted under Article 262 of Constitution of India on the eve of reorganization of states on linguistic basis to resolve the water disputes that would arise in the use, control and distribution of an interstate river or river valley. Article 262 of the Indian Constitution provides a role for the Central government in adjudicating conflicts surrounding inter-state rivers that arise among the state/regional governments. Whenever the riparian states are not able to reach amicable agreements on their own in sharing of an interstate river waters, section 4 of IRWD Act provides dispute resolution process in the form of Tribunal.
“Riparian is defined as vegetation, habitats, or ecosystems that are associated with bodies of water (streams or lakes) or are dependent on the existence of perennial, intermittent or ephemeral surface or subsurface water drainage.”