The Madras High Court on Thursday directed the Tamil Nadu government not to allow any person to draw and sell groundwater until Tamil Nadu Groundwater (Development and Management) Act, 2003, is notified.

Appeals by NTADC

A Division Bench, comprising Justices Elipe Dharma Rao and D. Haripanthaman, passed the interim order on appeals filed by the New Tirupur Area Development Corporation Ltd (NTADC), challenging a single Judge's order.

The Judge had dismissed a petition by the NTADC seeking to implead itself in writ petitions filed by two persons seeking to forbear the authorities from obstructing the supply of water taken from their open wells in Veerapandi village, Tirupur taluk, Coimbatore district, through tankers owned by them.

The water is for domestic and drinking purposes in and around Tirupur and Palladam.

When the writ petitions were pending, the NTADC filed impleading petitions.

A single Judge dismissed the impleading petitions and allowed the writ petitions. Hence, the present appeals.

When the matter came up, the Special Government Pleader produced a copy of a letter from the PWD Secretary in December last year, which stated that the government was considering aspects such as encouraging the agriculture sector and socio economic aspects of certain classes of farmers and to introduce comprehensive amendments to the Act, before the law was brought into force.

In its order, the Bench said though the Act was of 2003, and seven years had lapsed, the government had not chosen to notify it for reasons best known to it. To protect groundwater from persons who used it for commercial purposes to gain profit from agriculturists who were suffering due to lack of water not only for agriculture but also for drinking, and also in public interest, the Bench said it considered it appropriate to direct the government not to allow any person to draw and sell groundwater till the notification was issued.

The matter has been posted for further hearing after four weeks.