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SC refused to entertain plea to snap water supply to breweries

FPJ Bureau | Updated on: Friday, May 31, 2019, 03:03 PM IST

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New Delhi : The Supreme Court on Tuesday refused to entertain a plea to snap water supply to the liquor industry in the drought-hit regions of Maharashtra.

Dismissing the PIL as withdrawn, the vacation bench of Justices Prafulla C. Pant and D.Y. Chandrachud said it was a policy matter and any interference in this by the judiciary would amount to taking over governance. It said some aspects of the policy matter have to be left to the state government.

The court’s observations had the lawyers wondering whether the judges were stung by the recent criticism of judiciary for interfering in policy matters, an exclusive domain of the government.

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Directing the petitioner to better seek modification of the order passed by the Bombay High Court (Aurangabad Bench) directing 60% cut in supply of water to the distilleries and breweries, the bench wondered if the PIL was filed only for “publicity.” It allowed the petitioner to approach the High Court which recently curtailed water supply to the liquor industry by 60% and other industries by 25% from May 10, an order operational till June 27.

Petitioner Sanjay Bhaskarrao Kale had appealed against the High Court’s interim order which said that a balance has to be struck between the needs of the people for drinking water and the needs of the industry. His plea was that human needs must takes precedence over the needs of the industry because the right to access drinking water is fundamental to life. Moreover, there is a duty cast on the State under Article 21 of the Constitution to provide clean drinking water to its citizens, the petitioner argued.

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The Apex Court, however, pulled up Kale for rushing to it despite an interim order by the High Court. “Why are you coming against an interim order of the high court? The high court has already allowed 60 per cent, now what do you want? These are all policy decisions. There has to be a balance,” the bench said.

The dismissal of the plea seeking 100 percent cut in water supply to the liquor industry assumes significance as the Supreme Court had earlier upheld the Bombay High Court order banning the hosting of IPL cricket matches in Maharashtra in view of the prevailing drought conditions in the state.

Monitor water table in dams, regulator told

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The Bombay High Court on Tuesday asked Maharashtra Water Resources Regulatory Authority to constantly monitor water level in all the dams of the state to ensure enough water is available for drinking in the drought-hit state. When the petitioners told the court that certain private entities were holding water, the bench observed that “natural resources such as water are the property of the nation as a whole and do not belong to any individual…these resources must not be diverted for other purpose.” The court has also asked the government to ensure that a special ward is created in all the district hospitals for treatment of people hit by heat strokes.

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Published on: Wednesday, May 25, 2016, 02:36 AM IST