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SYL canal: Punjab says SC not bound to answer Prez reference

Isolated by other stake-holders over the water-sharing dispute of the Satluj-Yamuna Link (SYL) Canal, Punjab on Friday said the Supreme Court was not bound to answer the Presidential reference made at the instance of the Centre, which had no power to resolve the dispute.

The Parkash Singh Badal government also submitted that a fresh tribunal be set up to resolve all disputes with other states, including Haryana, on all aspects, which will also cover the riparian rights and the dwindling flow.

Appearing for Punjab, senior advocate Ram Jethmalani said the Apex Court was not bound to answer the Presidential reference on the validity of the Punjab Termination of Agreements, 2004.

“Though it is a Presidential reference, it had been done at the instance of the Centre, which had no power to decide the water dispute. The reference had been made under Article 143 (1) of the Constitution which clearly stated that the Supreme Court ‘may’ answer it. This was quite contrary to references made under Article 143(2) which shall be answerable by the Supreme Court,” senior advocate Ram Jethmalani, appearing for Punjab, submitted before a five-judge Constitution Bench headed by A R Dave.
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