KARNATAKA

TP's order to water supplier quashed

Staff Reporter

Chickabanavara TP issued the order in November 2006 Court asks Government if any rules were framed

BANGALORE: Does extraction of groundwater through borewells and selling it constitute a fundamental right under Article 21 of the Constitution and can a local body interfere with such a sale? This was the question that came up before the Karnataka High Court on Thursday.

The court was dealing with petitions against an order of Chickabanavara Taluk Panchayat in Bangalore Rural District directing the owners of borewells to stop sale of water. The petitioners said there was water scarcity in the panchayat area and that they were supplying water extracted from borewells in their area.

They said they were charging some amount for extraction of water and its transportation.

On November 27, 2006, the panchayat issued a notice asking the petitioners to desist from selling water. Assailing this notice, the petitioners claimed that it infringed on their fundamental right and that it had no right over groundwater. The panchayat claimed that extraction on a large scale had led to depletion of water level. Justice Rammohan Reddy, who is hearing the matter, sought to know from the Government whether there were any regulations governing the extraction of groundwater.

When told that there was no specific law or regulation, he directed that the notices served on the petitioners be treated as show-cause notices and asked the panchayat to consider according to the law the reply by the petitioners.

He quashed the notices by the panchayat to the petitioners and allowed the writ petition in part.

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