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Water allocation is no matter for judicial scrutiny: Supreme Court

How much water is to be allocated by a State for a particular region is not a matter of judicial review, the Supreme Court said on Monday.

Dismissing a plea for a direction for allocation of adequate water in Kachchh district in Gujarat, a Bench of Justices Markandey Katju and C.K. Prasad said: “The prayer is not one which can be a matter of judicial review. It is for the executive authorities to look into this matter. There must be judicial restraint in such matters.”

Petition dismissed

The Kachchh Jal Sankat Nivaran Samiti was aggrieved over the Gujarat High Court dismissing a petition for directions for release of water from the Sardar Sarovar Dam by the State government to the district, said to be drought prone. The High Court held that there were no judicially manageable standards for adjudication of allocation of water in favour of any region within the State. “The government is the best judge to decide how much water should be released from the Narmada Canal to Kuchchh and how much water is to be left for other regions,” it said.

Judicial scrutiny

The Bench pointed out that all these decisions required delicate balancing and consideration of complex social and economical issues which could not be brought under judicial scrutiny. In fact, “the State government has accepted the decision of the Narmada Water Disputes Tribunal which cannot be said to be arbitrary.”

Modes of conveyances

In the appeal, the interlocutory application sought interim directions including a plea to appoint a committee of experts to go into the various modes of conveyance of Narmada waters through the Kachchh Branch Canal to the Kachchh region with reference to a cost-benefit ratio and other relevant aspects, and direct the panel to submit a report to the Supreme Court.

Rejecting the petition, the Bench said, “We are not inclined to grant any of the prayers made in the interlocutory application.”



  • Kachchh Samiti plea for water from Narmada Dam dismissed
  • There must be judicial restraint in such matters: Bench

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