HC permits drinking water bottling units to function sans licence

‘Crackdown will lead to water shortage’

The Madras High Court on Monday permitted drinking water bottling units in the State to function even without valid licences till July 31 because otherwise it might lead to shortage of water at a crucial stage when the State is battling the pandemic COVID-19.

Justices Vineet Kothari and R. Suresh Kumar took the extraordinary decision at the request of Advocate General Vijay Narayan representing the State and senior counsel G. Masilamani appearing for some of the private drinking water bottling units in the State.

The judges in their previous interim orders, passed last month and even early this month, had come down heavily against illegal bottling units that were functioning either without obtaining any licence from the government or without renewing their expired licences.

They had further directed the illegal units to deposit ₹50,000 each for renewal or issuance of fresh licences and decided to monitor the functioning of all such units in the State through appointment of two advocate commissioners for each and every district.

However, in view of the present threat of COVID-19 looming large, the senior counsel made a mention before the High Court to permit the bottling units to carry on their functions for sometime since there would be considerable delay in granting licences to them.

The A-G also expressed the willingness of the State government to permit the units to function temporarily. After recording his submission, the judges permitted the interim arrangement to continue with a condition that the units should give 15% of their daily output to the government so that the water could be distributed for free to the needy.

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Printable version | Apr 6, 2020 2:11:53 AM |

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