Inter State water relations

Interstate water disputes can be adjudicated by a tribunal established under the inter-state water disputes act, enacted under Article 262.

Central government can form a tribunal within one year of receiving a complaint from an affected state for matters related to river valley or Inter-state River.

The tribunal has to decide on the matter with three years with an extension of two years.

No Indian court can intervene in the matters of the tribunal [even the SC].

After the verdict is passed it becomes binding on all parties and a settled dispute can’t be reopened. However states can appeal under the special leave jurisdiction of the SC.

8 tribunals has been formed so far.

River board’s act too has been enacted under this article to provide for a body to regulate and develop river valleys and interstate rivers. No such board has been formed so far.


Government to replace the interstate water dispute tribunal with a permanent tribunal to adjudicate all disputes. The existing practice of appointing a tribunal once a dispute arises shall stop. The permanent tribunal shall have regional benches too. Currently whenever a dispute arises the disputing parties inform the center to constitute a tribunal. The center constitutes one if it feels that the differences are irreconcilable and all other remedies are exhausted. So far 8 tribunals were constituted and gave their awards. But a new dispute has emerged between Chhattisgarh and Odisha over water sharing of Mahanadi.

In the second part of this restructuring of Water conservation agencies, the Central Water Commission and Central Ground Water Board shall be subsumed or replaced by a National Water Commission. This shall maintain the databank of water related information like irrigation areas, rainfall, water flow etc. This is needed because the data collection starts whenever a dispute arises. Hence this body shall store data on real time basis and adjudication of disputes shall be faster.

Inter State Council

President can establish an interstate council under Article 263 for coordination between states and center or states. He can specify the composition, duties and procedure. As per the constitution the functions are:

        ·         Inquire and investigate on disputes that may arise between states.

        ·         Investigate and discuss matters of interest to states or center and states.

        ·         Recommendation on subjects that need better coordination of policy and action.

    The body is advisory and hence recommendations are not binding.


An interstate council of centre state relations with PM [chairman] + chief ministers of states and UT’s + administrators of UT’s + 6 central cabinet ministers + 5 cabinet ministers of centre / ministers of states chosen by the PM are members was created on 1990.


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