HC asks BWSSB to settle 25-year-old water bill dispute with BBMP

Criticising the Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board for giving rise to an avoidable dispute, the High Court of Karnataka has directed the Board and the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike to resolve the 25-year-old dispute over payment of arrears of water bill of over ₹2 crore amongst themselves without dragging the firm maintaining BBMP’s Jayanagar swimming pool.

The court, while noticing that many of the officers responsible for such a situation would have retired by now, restrained itself from ordering disciplinary inquiry against officers of the Board to recover the due from them for having let the amount of arrears grow to mountainous proportions over the last 25 years.

Justice M. Nagaprasanna passed the order on a petition filed by M/s PM Swimming Centre questioning the demand made by the BWSSB to pay the arrears of water bill.

The court noticed that the arrears of amount demanded by the BWSSB was prior to the petitioner-firm taking over the pool in 1996 for maintenance, and the that the firm had not used water from the BWSSB as it had a different source for water.

Taking note of the fact that the BWSSB had simply allowed the alleged arrears to grow over 25 years without taking action to recover bill amount at the earliest point when the law permits the Board to disconnect sewage connection if bill amount not paid within 15 days of issue of bill, the Bench said while noting that BWSSB resorted to disconnection of sewerage connection only recently.

“It is for the Board and the BBMP to resolve the dispute of payment of arrears without dragging the petitioner [firm] in the cobweb of the dispute and enmesh it into the burden of clearing the arrears of more than ₹2 crores. The swimming pool cannot be let into deep sea of an imaginary clam,” the court observed.

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Printable version | Jan 27, 2022 2:55:17 AM |

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