Government to set up single tribunal to arbitrate inter-State water disputes

The Union Government has decided to set up a single permanent Tribunal to adjudicate all inter-State river water disputes.
This single body will subsume all existing tribunals for resolving grievances of inter-State water disputes in a speedy manner. It will be headed by a retired Supreme Court judge.
The Tribunal will also have more teeth as whenever it gives order, the verdict gets notified automatically. Until now, the Union Government was required to notify the awards, causing delay in its implementation.

Newly proposed mechanisms

Benches for adjudicating inter-State river water disputes
  • Besides the tribunal, the Union Government has also proposed to float some Benches by amending the Inter-State Water Disputes Act, 1956 to look into disputes as and when required.
  • Unlike the tribunal, these benches will cease to exist once the disputes are resolved.
  • Earlier water tribunals took decades to deliver final awards into disputes, whereas the proposed Tribunal is expected to deliver its verdict during a span of three years.
Dispute Resolution Committee (DRC)
  • Along with the tribunal, the amendment also has been proposed to set up Dispute Resolution Committee (DRC).
  • The DRC will be comprising experts and policy-makers. It is proposed to handle disputes prior to the tribunal.
  • The Union Government will set up a DRC whenever a state will request. Most of the disputes will be resolved at the DRC’s level itself. But if a State is not satisfied, it can approach the tribunal.

About Interstate River Water Disputes Act

Inter-state River Water Disputes Act, 1956 (IRWD Act) was enacted by the parliament of India under Article 262 of Constitution. Its purpose is to resolve the water disputes that would arise in the use, control and distribution of an interstate river or river valley.



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