Water Redirection Still An Issue In Punjab

sutlej-riverNEW DELHI, India—In a setback to SAD-BJP government in Punjab, the Supreme Court Thursday held as unconstitutional the state government’s law to terminate a water-sharing agreement with other states by constructing the Satluj-Yamuna Link (SYL) canal on its territory. A five-judge Constitution Bench answered the Presidential Reference, opining that Punjab can not terminate the agreement unilaterally and its 2004 Act was hence unconstitutional.

The Bench led by Justice Anil R Dave, reading out the verdict in the court, said that all the questions referred to it by the President have been answered in negative. This effectively meant that Punjab’s attempt to wriggle out of the agreement to share water with Haryana, Delhi and other states has been shot down.

The Constitution Bench judgment also restores the 2004 decree passed by the Supreme Court, directing Punjab to construct the SYL canal on its territory. The detailed judgment by the Bench is still to come out. The lawyers appearing for Punjab told The Indian Express: “Yes..The judgment has come against us. We will now see what we can do.”

On his part, senior lawyer Shyam Diwan, who appeared for Haryana, submitted before the Bench that they would be filing fresh applications seeking the court order to be executed. There is also a status quo ordered by the Bench on a recent law passed by the SAD-BJP government to de-notify the land acquired for construction of the canal and give it back to the farmers.

Protesting against the court judgment, Congress MLAs resigned en masse. Party state president Amarinder Singh also resigned as Member of Parliament and called for a press conference at 4.30 pm today. The judgment is a huge setback for the SAD-BJP alliance ahead of the upcoming Punjab Assembly elections. SAD MP In Rajya Sabha, Sabha Naresh Gujral, however, said the party would study all the legal options available instead of resorting to drama like the Congress. Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar hailed the court’s decision, saying the judgment has brought a smile on every Haryanvi’s face. In March this year, the Punjab Assembly passed a resolution not to share a single drop of water with Haryana.


  1. Sikhs are the guardians and custodians not only of Punjabi culture but of the greatest religion that ever sprang from her soil – Sikhi. Punjabi SIkhs disapora is successful all over the world and readily recognisable with their proud dastaars but there can only ever be one SIkh homeland and heartland and that is the original Punjab. You cannot uproot Sikh religious and historical sites from the authentic Punjab to all over the world you can only spread the message of Sikhi and that is already being done.

  2. We are the Guardians and caretakers of Punjabi culture and I suggest we need to have infinite number of Punjabs.

    It should sprout in every street,village, town ,Nation ,planets ,galaxies and parallel universes.

    Punjab should not only be land of five rivers but land of infinite rivers flourishing on the banks of all rivers from Nile ,Mississippi, to Thames etc etc.

  3. Land of five River was broken down. in 1947 when Punjabi Muslims walked away into Pakistan.
    The Hindu Punjabi walked in 1966 when he walked away into Haryana.
    It is left up to us to salvage the left over pride of


    • Just because the Mussalman and Hindu Punjabi has forsaken Punjab (and you could argue the Pakisatni Mussalman has not in that they still retain the name West Punjab, speak Punjabi we can understand and indeed dress and eat the same as us in the east) does not mean the Sikh must or can ever abandon Punjab. This land is soaked in our blood and sweat and is the Sikh ancestral homeland and heartland from which Sikhi was both born and nurtured with its religious and historical sites. We can never abandon Punjab because a people who are homeless become a people who can be abused and reduced to nothing – look at the plight of the displaced Palestinian in their refuge camps all over the middle east with no hope of a future.

  4. Just re unite Punjab, Haryana and Himachal and get over this self created problem.
    People are planning to go to Mars and we are still wrangling over water.

    • The clue is in the word Punjab my friend. It means land of five rivers. You go to Mars leave the Sikh heartland and homeland with its resources to its majority population the Sikhs.

  5. There is a misconception that Punjab has abundant river water which is totally false. ‘The rivers of Punjab have a total of 28.5 M. A. F. water. Rajasthan takes away 11.2 M.A.F. of the Punjab river waters (8.6 M.A.F. through the Rajasthan Canal, 1.5 M.A.F. through the Bhakra Canal and 1.1 M.A.F. through the Bikaner Canal). And, Haryana has been allotted 7.83 M.A.F. (4.33 M.A.F. goes from the Satluj through the Bhakra Canal. Besides this, 1.62 M.A.F. out of 3.5 M.A.F. alloted from the Ravi-Beas system also runs through the Bhakra canal. The remaining 1.88 M.A.F. is a bone of contention. (Over and above this, Haryana takes 5.6 M.A.F. from the Yamuna and also uses the entire 1.1 M.A.F. water of the Ghaggar.) Punjab is left with 9.47 M.A.F. Most people do not know that Haryana gets more water than Punjab, although it has less area than Punjab. (Punjab has 50362 sq. kilo metres of area while Haryana has 44212 sq.kilo metres.) It may also be pointed out that according to Helsinky Rules 1966 and the Indian Constitution (Entry 17 of List ii under Seventh Schedule), Punjab, as the riparian state, is entitled to the entire water of its rivers.’


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