Chandigarh/New Delhi: The Punjab Government on Wednesday asked the Supreme Court to put off hearing of the dispute over the Sutlej Yamuna Link (SYL) Canal after results of the assembly elections are announced on March 11.
Appearing for the SAD-BJP state government led by Chief Minister Prakash Singh Badal, senior counsel Ram Jethmalani said: "Please keep it after 11th of March. Election results are to be announced."
When a Bench headed by Justice PC Ghose wondered what had the court proceedings to do with election results, Jethmalani told the court that Punjab Government's affidavit would be filed by on Thursday, after it is vetted. He cited the chief minister’s ill health and medical treatment for the delay.
The Bench gave the state government until February 20 to submit its affidavit. The court will hear the case on February 22.
The top court declared Punjab’s 2004 law to terminate an agreement for sharing SYL canal water with neighbouring states unconstitutional in November 10, 2016.
A Constitution Bench said the law — Punjab Termination of Agreement Act, 2004 —answered all four questions referred to it in a Presidential Reference in the negative.
The court ruled that Punjab could not take a ‘unilateral’ decision to terminate the agreement with Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Rajasthan, Jammu and Kashmir, Delhi and Chandigarh on sharing of the Ravi-Beas river waters.
On November 30 last year, the top court had ordered status quo on the land acquired for the construction of canal's stretch in Punjab and appointed the Union Home secretary, Punjab's chief secretary and the director general of police as receivers.
However, it had made it clear that the receivers were only for the purposes of submitting a report on the ground situation to the court.
The order had come on Haryana Government's petition for status quo ante in the wake of Punjab's decision to de-notify the acquired land and restoring it to original owners.
On Wednesday, the court said the interim order would continue.