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SC dismisses Delhi Jal Board’s contempt petition

A view of the Supreme Court of India. File   | Photo Credit: S. Subramanium

The Supreme Court on Friday dismissed a contempt petition filed by the Delhi Jal Board (DJB), seeking contempt action against Haryana Chief Secretary Vijai Vardhan, and Additional Chief Secretary Irrigation and Water Resources Department Devender Singh, for wilfully disobeying a February 1996 order of the apex court to maintain water level at the Wazirabad reservoir at full capacity to serve the drinking water needs of the national capital.

Appearing before a Bench led by Justice A.M. Khanwilkar, senior advocate Vikas Singh, for the DJB, submitted that Haryana was not supplying Yamuna water to the capital, as required under the court order.

Mr. Singh said there was a shortage of 450 cusecs of water supplied by Haryana to Delhi, regardless of the court’s directions.

“Due to non-supply of adequate water by Haryana, the water level in the Wazirabad reservoir is only 31% full. This has the possibility of triggering a severe water crisis in Delhi. The petitioner has already had to curtail water for several areas in Delhi including President’s Estate, Parliament House and other institutional and diplomatic buildings as well as many residential areas,” the Delhi Jal Board (DJB) had submitted.

Senior advocate Shyam Divan, for Haryana, countered that the contempt petition was an “absolute abuse of process” by the DJB. Haryana is releasing more than 1,000 cusecs of water and sometimes even more, he submitted.

The court dismissed the contempt petition after a short hearing.

The DJB had accused Haryana of contempt for acting in clear violation of the apex court order of February 29, 1996 order of the Supreme Court in the Delhi Water Supply and Sewage Disposal Undertaking Vs. State of Haryana case.

The DJB had earlier in 2021 approached the apex court to “immediately stop” Haryana from discharging pollutants into the Yamuna river.


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Printable version | Sep 17, 2021 7:41:43 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/sc-dismisses-delhi-jal-boards-contempt-petition/article35492366.ece

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