Permanent Tribunal to Adjudicate Water Disputes

The Union government  has decided to set up a single, permanent Tribunal to adjudicate all inter-State river water disputes.

This initiative is aimed at resolving grievances of States in a speedy manner. This body will subsume existing tribunals.

Besides the tribunal, the 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, the Benches will cease to exist once the disputes are resolved.

There will be only one permanent tribunal with retired Supreme Court judge as its chairperson. There will be benches formed as and when required. The benches though will be wound up once a dispute is resolve.

Water tribunals “took ages” to deliver final awards into disputes, where as the proposed Tribunal is expected to deliver its verdict during a span of three years.

Along with the tribunal, the amendment proposes to set up Dispute Resolution Committee (DRC). The DRC, comprising experts and policy-makers, is proposed to handle disputes prior to the tribunal. Whenever a State will request, the Centre will set up a DRC. Most disputes will get resolved at the DRC’s level itself. But if a State is not satisfied, it can approach the tribunal.