(The Government has paid a whopping Rs 22 crore to advocates in the last 17 years for arguing the Cauvery case. Chamaraj Savadi reports from Dharwad)
Even if the final solution to the Cauvery water dispute between Karnataka and Tamil Nadu is elusive, at least the legal fraternity representing Karnataka seems to have made a killing.
This has come to light in the information provided by the Government to a person under the Right to Information Act (RTI). The Government has paid a whopping Rs 22 crore to advocates in the last 17 years for arguing the case.
Founder president of Puraskar organisation, Krishna Joshi had sought information from the Karnataka Chief Secretary regarding the number of delegations and advocates and the fees and the expenses paid to them to represent Karnataka after the constitution of the Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal.
DelayHowever, when there was a delay of more than a month to furnish the details by the officials of the RTI, Mr Joshi had filed a complaint with the Karnataka Information Commission.Two junior officers of the Water Resources department appeared before the commission on behalf of the Chief Secretary on June 21 and they were able to give answers to only two questions. The reply for one of the question was not complete. Dissatisfied with the information, the commission asked them to appear again before it on September 27 for final hearing.
According to the information provided by the officials, the professional fees paid to ten advocate generals between 1990-91 to 28-2-2007 is Rs 1.34 crore. But the fees paid to the 18 advocates who argued on behalf of the State was a whopping Rs 22.10 crore. Tops the listOut of this, advocate Anil B Dhiwan tops the list with a payment of of Rs 9.66 crore . Advocate Ashok Mathur who was paid Rs 3,000 is in the bottom of the list. The fees paid to renowned advocate Fali S Nariman who has been representing the State from the beginning is just Rs 2,08,77,000. The following is the list of other advocates and the fees paid: Brijesh Kalappa (Rs 31.24 lakh), S C Sharma (Rs 25.87 lakhs), Syed Naqvi (Rs 19.60 lakhs), Y S Chitale (Rs 18.93 lakh), Atul Y Chitale (Rs 2.61 lakh), T R Andhyarujina (Rs 12.06 lakh),Deepak M Nargolkar (Rs 2.27 lakh), M Veerappa (Rs1.16 lakh), Sanjay R Hegde (Rs 12.95 lakh), Padmanabha Mahale Rs 58,70) Nanjappa Ganapathy (Rs 45,000) and Ashok Mathur (Rs 3,000). The payment to the advocates-general is as follows: A N Jayaram, (Rs 76.05 lakh), S Vijayashanker (Rs 27.03 lakh), B V Acharya (Rs 8.88 lakh), B T Parthasaraty (Rs 8.55 lakh), M R Janardhan (Rs 5.82 lakh), to P P Mutthanna (Rs 3.08 lakh) and Shivappa (Rs 2.66 lakh). The present advocate-general Uday Holla has been paid Rs 1 lakh.Bangalore visitsInformation regarding the number of visits the advocates made to Bangalore to discuss about the Cauvery issue has also been given. Advocate Mohan Katarki who has made 193 visits to Bangalore since 1990 has been paid Rs 2.75 crore. S S Javali with 158 visits was paid Rs 3.77 crore in professional fees. Shambu Prasad Singh who has made 138 visits has been paid Rs 2.41 crore since 1993. The other advocates who visited Bangalore are Anil B Dhivan (46 times), Syed B Naqvi (26), S F Nariman (19), Brijesh Kalappa (18), Ranbir Singh (14) and Sanjay R Hegde (7 times). “The amount of fees spent on the advocates so far is staggering. In spite of spending so much the government has failed to present its case properly before the tribunal, is what I feel. My whole idea is to make public every detail regarding the Cauvery issue. I will fight till I receive the full information,” said Mr Joshi.Mr Joshi who has been successful in seeing to it that the whole discussion was carried out in Kannada, also has demanded that the tribunal’s verdict should be published in Kannada and the whole issue be made public.
The following questions are still awaiting answers:
*After the 1991 interim order, was the advocate-general present for five meetings out of the seven meetings called? If by chance he was absent what action has been taken?
*After the interim order, who was responsible for delaying filing the review petition by five months? What action has been taken against them?
*Has the Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal verdict dated 5-02-2007, been published in Kannada in a summary form or is it going to be published? Why no information has been given to public in this regard?
*Out of the tribunal’s expenses 40 per cent should have been paid by Karnataka. What is the total cost?
*How many delegations have visited Delhi to sort out the Cauvery issue since 1991? What is the amount spent on these delegations?
Meanwhile, the Cauvery dispute is once again coming up before the Supreme Court in July and the State Government is preparing for the next legal battle.