The Inter-State River Water Disputes are governed by the Inter-State Water Disputes Act, 1956. As per the current provisions of the 1956 Act, a tribunal can be formed after a state government approaches Union Government with such request and the Centre is convinced of the need to form the tribunal.
This act was further amended in 2002 to include the major recommendations of ‘The Sarkaria Commission’. The amendments mandated a one year time frame to setup the water disputes tribunal and also a 3 year time frame to give a decision.
Procedure for Adjudication of Disputes
When a Tribunal has been constituted under section 4, the Central Government shall, subject to the prohibition contained in section 8, refer the water dispute and any matter appearing to be connected with, or relevant to, the water dispute to the Tribunal for adjudication.
The Tribunal shall investigate the matters referred to it and forward to the Central Government a report setting out the facts as found by it and giving its decision on the matters referred to it within a period of three years.
Provided that if the decision cannot be given for unavoidable reason, within a period of three years, the Central Government may extend the period for a further period not exceeding two years.
If, upon consideration of the decision of the Tribunal, the Central Government or any State Government is of opinion that anything therein contained requires explanation or that guidance is needed upon any point not originally referred to the Tribunal, the Central Government or the State Government, as the case may be, within three months from the date of the decision, again refer the matter to the Tribunal for further consideration, and on such reference, the Tribunal may forward to the Central Government a further report within one year from the date of such reference giving such explanation or guidance as it deems fit and in such a case, the decision of the Tribunal shall be deemed to be modified accordingly:
Provided that the period of one year within which the Tribunal may forward its report to the Central Government may be extended by the Central Government, for such further period as it considers necessary”.
If the members of the Tribunal differ in opinion on any point, the point shall be decided according to the opinion of the majority.