SC junks DJB’s plea against Haryana over water shortage
- The bench of justices L Nageswara Rao, AS Bopanna and V Ramasubramanian dismissed the contempt petition and said a detailed order with the reasons for this will follow.
The Supreme Court on Friday dismissed a contempt plea filed by the Delhi Jal Board (DJB) seeking more water from Haryana to meet the Capital’s drinking water needs.
The board approached the court alleging that Haryana was in contempt of a February 29, 1996 order the Supreme Court passed, requiring the state to provide enough water to keep the reservoirs at Wazirabad and Hyderpur full to their capacity.
The bench of justices L Nageswara Rao, AS Bopanna and V Ramasubramanian dismissed the contempt petition and said a detailed order with the reasons for this will follow.
DJB complained that as on July 10 this year, the level of water at the Wazirabad reservoir fell to 667.60 feet. The reservoir’s lowest point is at 664.50 feet above sea level and its crest is at 674.50 feet above sea level. Claiming that the reservoir was only at 31%, DJB moved a contempt plea alleging that the shortfall at Wazirabad reservoir was because Haryana was not releasing enough water.
The order of February 1996 on which DJB relied said, “We direct that Delhi shall continue to get as much water for domestic use from Haryana through River Yamuna which can be consumed and filled in the two water reservoirs and treatment plants at Wazirabad and Hyderpur...”
Senior advocate Vikas Singh, appearing for DJB, produced a letter written by Haryana chief secretary Vijai Vardhan to DJB on May 20 this year, where it admitted that it supplied only 370 cusecs of water to the Capital when it was required to provide 450 cusecs.
Haryana, however, disputed any shortfall in supply of water to Delhi. Senior advocate Shyam Divan relied on a report by a Supreme Court-appointed panel on April 22 this year that found out that Delhi was diverting water received from Haryana to its plants at places other than Wazirabad and Hyderpur.
“The committee found how water from the Yamuna coming to Delhi is being diverted to water treatment plants at Bawana, Dwarka and Okhla. It depends on DJB how much water it wants to send to Wazirabad, as it is fully under their control,” Divan said.