THE INTER-STATE WATER DISPUTES ACT, 1956

 

ACT NO.33 OF 1956.

 

An Act to provide for the adjudication of disputes relating to waters of inter-State rivers and river valleys.

 

[28th August, 1956]

Contents

1.Short title and extent

2.Definitions

3.Complaints by State Governments as to water disputes

4.Constitution of Tribunal

5.Adjudication of water disputes

6.Publication of decisions of Tribunal

7.Prohibition of levy of seigniorage, etc

8.Bar of reference of certain disputes to Tribunal

9.Powers of Tribunal

10.Allowances or fees for presiding officer of Tribunal and assessors

11.Bar or jurisdiction of Supreme Court and other courts

12.Dissolution of Tribunal

13.Power to make rules

 

                Be it enacted by Parliament in the Seventh Year of the Republic of India as follows:—

 

               

1.Short title and extent

.- (1) This Act may be called the Inter-State Water Disputes Act, 1956.

 

                (2) It extends to the whole of India..

 

               

2.Definitions

.- In this Act, unless the context otherwise requires,—

 

                (a) "prescribed" means prescribed by rules made under this Act;

 

                (b) "Tribunal" means a Water Disputes Tribunal constituted under section 4;

 

                (c) "water dispute" means any dispute or difference between two or more State Governments with respect to—

 

                (i) the use, distribution or control of the waters, of or in, any inter-State river or river valley; or

 

                (ii) the interpretation of the terms of any agreement relating to the use, distribution or control of such waters or the implementation of such agreement; or

 

                (iii) the levy of any water rate in contravention of the prohibition contained in section 7.

 

               

3.Complaints by State Governments as to water disputes

.- If it appears to the Government of any State that a water dispute with the Government of another State has arisen or is likely to arise by reason of the fact, that the interests of the State, or of any of the inhabitants thereof, in the waters of an inter-State river or river valley have been, or are likely to be, affected prejudicially by—

 

                (a) any executive action or legislation taken or passed, or proposed to be taken or passed, by the other State; or

 

                (b) the failure of the other State or any authority therein to exercise any of their powers with respect to the use, distribution or control of such waters; or

 

                (c) the failure of the other State to implement the terms of any agreement relating to the use, distribution or control of such waters,

 

the State Government may, in such form and manner as may be prescribed, request the Central Government to refer the water dispute to a Tribunal for adjudication.

 

               

4.Constitution of Tribunal

.- (1) When any request under section 3 is received from any State Government in respect of any water dispute and the Central Government is or opinion that the water dispute cannot be settled by negotiations the Central Government shall, by notification in the Official Gazette, constitute a Water Disputes Tribunal for the adjudication of the water dispute.

 

                (2) The Tribunal shall consist of one person only nominated in this behalf by the Chief Justice of India from among persons who are, or have been, Judges of the Supreme Court or are Judges of a High Court.

 

                (3) The Tribunal may appoint two or more persons as assessors to advice it in the proceeding before it.

 

               

5.Adjudication of water disputes

.- (1) 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.

 

                (2) 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.

 

                (3) 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 may, 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 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.

 

               

6.Publication of decisions of Tribunal

.- The Central Government shall publish the decision of the Tribunal in the Official Gazette and the decision shall be final and binding on the parties to the disputes and shall be given effect to by them.

 

               

7.Prohibition of levy of seigniorage, etc

.-  (1) No State Government shall, by reason only of the fact that any works for the conservation, regulation or utilisation of water  resources of an inter-State river have been  constructed within the limits of the States impose or authorise the imposition of, any seigniorage or additional rate or fee by whatever name called) in respect of the use of such water by any other State or the inhabitants thereof.

 

                (2) Any dispute or difference between two or more State Governments with respect to the levy of any water rate in contravention of the prohibition contained in sub-section (1) shall be deemed to be a water dispute.

 

               

8.Bar of reference of certain disputes to Tribunal

.- Notwithstanding anything in section 3 or section 5, no reference shall be made to a Tribunal of any dispute that may arise regarding any matter which may be referred to arbitration under the River Boards Act, 1956.

 

               

9.Powers of Tribunal

.- (1) The Tribunal shall have the same powers as are vested in a civil court under the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908 (1 of 1908), in respect of the following matters, namely:—

 

                (a) summoning the discovery and production of documents and material objects;

 

                (b) requiring the discovery and production of documents and material objects;

 

                (c) issuing commissions for the examination of witness or for local investigation;

 

                (d) any other matter which may be prescribed.

 

                (2) The Tribunal may require any State Government to carry out, or permit to be carried out, such surveys and investigation as may be considered necessary for the adjudication of any water dispute pending before it.

 

                (3) A decision of the Tribunal may contain directions as to the Government by which the expenses of the Tribunal and any costs incurred by any State Government in appearing before the Tribunal are to be paid, and may fix the amount of any expenses or costs to be so paid, and so far as it relates to expenses or costs, may be enforced as if it were an order made by the supreme Court.

 

                (4) Subject to any rules that may be made under this Act, the Tribunal may, by order, regulate its practice and procedure.

 

               

10.Allowances or fees for presiding officer of Tribunal and assessors

.- The presiding officer of a Tribunal and the assessors shall be entitled to receive such remuneration, allowances or fees as may be prescribed.

 

               

11.Bar or jurisdiction of Supreme Court and other courts

.- Notwithstanding anything contained in any other law, neither the supreme,  Court nor any other Court shall have or exercise jurisdiction in respect of any water dispute which may be referred to a Tribunal under this Act.

 

               

12.Dissolution of Tribunal

.- The Central Government shall dissolve the Tribunal after it has forwarded its report and as soon as the Central Government is satisfied that no further reference to the Tribunal in the matter could be necessary.

 

               

13.Power to make rules

.- (1) The Central Government after consultation with the State Governments, may, by notification in the Official Gazette, make rules to carry out the purposes of this Act.

 

                (2) In particular, and without prejudice to the generality of the foregoing, power, such rules may provide for all or any of the following matters, namely:—

 

(a) the form and manner in which a complaint as to any water dispute may be made by any State Government;

 

(b) the matters is respect of which a Tribunal may be vested with the powers of a civil court:

 

                                (c) the procedure to be followed by a Tribunal under this Act;

 

(d) the remuneration allowances or fees payable to the presiding officer of a Tribunal and assessors;

 

                                (e) the terms and conditions of service of officers of the Tribunal;

 

                                (f) any other matter which has to be, or may be, prescribed.

 

                (3) All rules made under this section shall, as soon as practicable after they are made, be laid for not less than fourteen days before both Houses of Parliament, and shall be subject to such modifications as Parliament may make during the session in which they are so laid.

 

—————————