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Part V Federalism, Ch.28 Inter-State River Water Disputes

Harish Salve

From: The Oxford Handbook of the Indian Constitution

Edited By: Sujit Choudhry, Madhav Khosla, Pratap Bhanu Mehta

From: Oxford Constitutions (http://oxcon.ouplaw.com). (c) Oxford University Press, 2023. All Rights Reserved.date: 24 February 2024

This chapter examines the constitutional framework for the resolution of inter-State river water disputes in India, considering whether water disputes are best resolved through political negotiation or through adjudication, how political agreements can be enforced and implemented, and how disputes are tackled substantively and procedurally. It discusses Article 262 of the Indian Constitution and the vesting of power in Parliament to adjudicate disputes regarding inter-State rivers or river valleys. It then provides a historical perspective on inter-State river water dispute resolution, starting from the Government of India Act 1919, and reviews two pieces of legislation enacted in 1956 to deal with inter-State river waters: the River Boards Act 1956 and the Inter-State River Water Disputes Act 1956. It looks at some of the major constitutional and legal debates that have surrounded inter-State river water disputes in India and analyses the Indian Supreme Court’s ruling in the Mullaperiyar Dam case.

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