Sun, Dec 4, 2016 | updated 01:19 AM IST

SAD expresses disappointment over SC verdict on SYL canal

Updated: Nov 11, 2016 13:59 IST

New Delhi [India], Nov 11 (ANI): The Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) on Friday expressed disappointment at the Supreme Court dubbing a 2004 law passed by the Punjab government terminating the Sutlej-Yamuna Link [SYL] canal water sharing agreement with neighbouring states as unconstitutional.

SAD leader Naresh Gujral said the party would now explore more options to derive the right conclusion.

"We are extremely disappointed with the judgment. But since the judgment has just come, our legal team is studying the judgment, and then, they will advise us as to what steps we should take. We have been told that the options are not over, we will obviously derive a logical conclusion," said Gujral.

Ridiculing Captain Amarinder Singh's resignation as MP post the Supreme Court's verdict, Gujral said that former quitting the Lok Sabha is a drama.

"The tripartite agreement was signed by Indira Gandhi with the Chief Ministers of Punjab, Rajasthan and Haryana in December 1981 when all the chief ministers were congress chief ministers. At that time no congressmen protested, in fact when she came to lay the foundation stone of the Canal, Captain Amrinder Singh welcomed her on the airport, he was present with her when the foundation stone was laid," he said.

"Today, he is doing drama by resigning just few months before the elections are due people of Punjab have seen through their game, they can try these stunts but nobody believes them anymore," he added.

A five-judge Constitution Bench led by Justice Anil R. Dave gave its opinion on a Presidential Reference made to it twelve years ago, on July 22, 2004, questioning the constitutional validity of the Act.

The apex court concluded that the Act was illegally designed to terminate a December 31, 1981 agreement entered into among Punjab, Haryana and Rajasthan to re-allocate the waters of Ravi and Beas in "overall national interest and for optimum utilisation of the waters". The SYL Canal was a product of this 1981 agreement.

By introducing the 2004 Act, the State defied two back-to-back apex court verdicts, pronounced in 2002 and 2004. The first one had directed Punjab to complete the SYL Canal in a year. The second judgment had ordered the formation of a central agency to "take control" of Punjab's work on the canal.

Haryana approached the apex court after Punjab refused to release water.

A five-judge bench restored the 2004 decree, ordering Punjab to construct the canal. However, the Centre will now take over the canal and continue with the work. (ANI)