Supreme Court fixes April 27 to hear SYL case

Supreme Court

The Supreme Court on Wednesday adjourned hearing on the SYL case to April 27 after the Centre said a meeting of Chief Ministers of Punjab and Haryana has been convened on April 20 to break the logjam on the contentious issue.

A bench of Justice Pinaki Chandra Ghose and Justice Amitava Roy gave the direction as Solicitor General Ranjit Kumar informed the court of the proposed meeting to discuss the construction of the Sutlej-Yamuna Link canal in Punjab territory.

Adjourning the hearing, Justice Ghose said: “If it (the issue of completion of Punjab stretch of SYL) is settled, it is OK. If not, we will hear the matter and decide the issue.”

As senior advocate Ram Jethmalani, appearing for Punjab, told the apex court that both the Prime Minister at the Centre and Chief Minister in Haryana belonged to the BJP, Justice Ghose said: “We see no face. The court can’t see any face.”

Senior counsel Shyan Divan appeared for Haryana.

The bench told all the parties that hearing will commence at 2 p.m. on April 27.

The bench said the contending parties — primarily Punjab and Haryana — should try to “finish as soon as possible”, adding that after all “it is an execution of decree passed by this court”.

The top court by its 2002 and 2004 orders and decrees had directed for the completion of the canal stretch in Punjab.

On February 15, the apex court said the status quo order passed on November 30, 2016, and continued from time to time will remain in force until further orders.

The top court had ordered for status quo on the land acquired for the SYL canal construction in Punjab in the wake of the latter’s decision to denotify 5,376 acres of land and restore the same to original owners.

The order came on the Haryana government’s plea that challenged the denotification decision.

On Monday, Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh said he welcomed the Centre’s move to facilitate the meeting on April 20 on the SYL canal issue.

On November 10, 2016, the Supreme Court had declared Punjab’s action to terminate agreements for the sharing of river waters with neighbouring states as unconstitutional and ordered that the state should allow the canal construction and give SYL water to neighbouring Haryana.