The Supreme Court on Monday appealed to Jat protesters demanding government benefits to maintain peace and rapped the Delhi government for approaching it over a water crisis triggered by the violent demonstrations.
“You people (Delhi government), instead of solving the problem at government-to-government level, are moving to the Supreme Court. You want order from the Supreme Court. You want everything on the platter,” Chief Justice of India TS Thakur said.
The SC sought a status report from the Haryana government on the plea of Delhi government seeking resumption of water supply to the national capital, disrupted due to the ongoing Jat quota agitation.
The bench was initially reluctant to take up the plea of the Delhi government. “You ministers are sitting in the court instead of going to the field. You rest in AC chambers and you want order from the court,” it said, referring to the presence of Delhi water minister Kapil Mishra in the court.
However, after persistence from advocate Rajeev Dhawan, appearing for the Delhi government, the bench asked the Haryana government to make the necessary arrangements for the resumption of water supply to the capital.
The SC, asking for a status report on the matter in two days, issued notices to the Centre and Uttar Pradesh government on the plea of the Aam Aadmi Party government.
The AAP government had earlier moved the apex court for an urgent hearing on its plea seeking the Centre’s intervention for uninterrupted supply of water from the Munak canal in Haryana, which was under siege of the Jat protesters.
The protesters continued to blockade highways and paralysed Haryana on Monday, but there was some relief for New Delhi’s residents as the Indian Army retook control of their main water source. Days of protests in Haryana by the Jat community have killed at least 12 people.
Delhi was on the verge of a severe water crisis with all its seven water treatment plants drying up after vandalisation by Jat protesters in Haryana forced closure of the Munak canal. The repercussions were already being felt in many parts of the national capital.
Mishra said the city government could not supply water through pipes on Sunday evening.
Chief minister Arvind Kejriwal on Sunday morning appealed to the residents of Delhi to save water, saying they might have to depend on the stored water for one or two days at least. He also spoke to Haryana chief Minister Manohar Lal
Khattar and home minister Rajnath Singh on the need to restore water supply to Delhi at the earliest.
Kejriwal also announced that all schools in the capital would be shut on Monday.
West Delhi was the worst affected area so far and the crisis was likely to spread across the capital on Monday.
(With inputs from agencies)