SC dismissed PIL seeking declaration of #IndusWatersTreaty as unconstitutional
 Source : News Bharati English  Date : 10-Apr-2017

New Delhi, April 10: The Supreme Court today dismissed a Public Interest Litigation seeking declaration of the Indus Waters Treaty between India and Pakistan as illegal and unconstitutional. A bench headed by Chief Justice JS Khehar said while dismissing the PIL that this treaty is of 1960 and has held good for more than half a century.

“The treaty between India and Pakistan is more than half a century old,” CJI said and rejected Sharma’s argument their it’s not a treaty but an agreement between leaders of two countries.

Sharma in his PIL, claimed that this Indus water was not an treaty but a personal agreement. He pleaded to the top court to declare the treaty void on the ground that it was not a valid document as this document does not bear signature of President of India.

Notably, The Indus and its tributaries easily make up the most important river system in the world. The basin was converted into an extensively cultivated area during the British colonial period, with millions of acres irrigated by large canals. At the time of Pakistan and India’s Partition in 1947, boundaries were drawn without first considering the realities of the region. The part of the Punjab to the west of this boundary becomes a part of Pakistan, while the east was incorporatedinto India. The immediate effect of this partition was that the Indus Basin became divided andconflicts subsequently arose between the two countries over the sharing of water resources.

In 1948, after India obtained control of the headwaters and halted the water flow into Pakistan, the dispute drew international attention. In 1960, after years of negotiations, the World Bank brokered the Indus Water Treaty, [IWT] which regulated the use of the Indus Basin rivers. The agreement was signed on September 19, 1960 by Pakistan’s President Mohammad Ayub Khan, Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru and the World Bank’s W.A.B Iliff.


  1. The Indus system of rivers comprises three Eastern Rivers (Ravi, Beas and Sutlej and their tributaries) and three Western Rivers (Indus, Jhelum and Chenab and their tributaries).
  2. The Indus Waters Treaty 1960 was signed on 19.09.1960 between India and Pakistan. It is however effective from 01.04.1960.
  3. Under the Treaty, the waters of Eastern Rivers are allocated to India. India is under obligation to let flow the waters of the Western Rivers except for the following uses: (a) Domestic Use, (b) Non-consumptive use, (c) Agricultural use as specified, (d) Generation of hydro-electric power as specified
  4. India has been permitted to construct storage of water on Western Rivers upto 3.6 MAF for various purposes. No storage has been developed so far.
  5. India has been permitted Agricultural Use of 7,01,000 acres over and above the Irrigated Cropped Area (ICA) as on 1.4.60. Out of this additional ICA of 7,01,000 acres, only 2,70,000 can be developed (i.e. a total ICA of 9,12,477 acres including that on 1.4.1960) till storages are constructed and 0.5 MAF of water is released there from every year. ICA during 2011-12 was 7,84,955 Acres.
  6. Under the Treaty, India and Pakistan have each created a permanent post of Commissioner for Indus Waters. They together constitute the Permanent Indus Commission (PIC), which is entrusted with the implementation of the Treaty. The PIC is required to hold meetings and tours and submit report on its work to the two Governments every year. It has held 117 tours and 110 meetings so far.
  7. Both sides are required to exchange information related to river flows observed by them, not later than three months of their observation and to exchange specified information on Agricultural Use every year.
  8. India is under obligation to supply information of its storage and hydroelectric projects as specified.
  9. India communicates as a gesture of goodwill, flood data to Pakistan from 1st July to 10th October every year, to enable them to undertake advance flood relief measures. The arrangement is reviewed every year.
  10. The Commissioners may discuss the questions arising under the Treaty under Article IX of the Treaty related to Settlement of Differences and Disputes and in the case of non-resolution, take further action under this Article for resolution through a Neutral Expert, negotiators or Court of Arbitration. A Neutral Expert appointed by World Bank on Pakistan’s request delivered Expert Determination on Baglihar Hydroelectric project in 2007. On request of Pakistan, to resolve the issues of Kishenganga He project, a seven member Court of Arbitration was set up in 2010. The Court has given its final award on 20 December 2013.

Indus Water Treaty by NewsBharati on Scribd