Image Source : FILE PHOTO Supreme Court

Delhi water crisis: The Supreme Court slammed the Delhi government on Monday for not addressing flaws in its plea, which seeks a direction for Haryana to release surplus water provided by Himachal Pradesh to the national capital to alleviate its water crisis. The court warned, “Do not take us for granted.”

The vacation bench of Justice Prashant Kumar Mishra and Justice Prasanna B Varale observed that affidavits are being rejected in the registry due to defects in the petition submitted by the Delhi government.

Here’s what apex court said 

“Why have you not cured the defect? We will dismiss the petition. On the last date also this was pointed out and you did not remove the defect. Don’t take the court proceedings for granted, however important your case may be.

“Never take us for granted. Filings are not being accepted. You straightaway hand over a series of documents in court and then you say you are suffering a deficit of water and pass an order today itself. You are raising all grounds of urgency and sitting leisurely. Let everything come on record. We will take it the day after tomorrow,” the bench said while adjourning the matter to June 12.

The top court said it wants to read the files before the matter is heard as there are so many things being reported in the newspaper. “If we don’t read the files at our residential office we will be impressed by whatever the newspapers are reporting. That is not good for any of the parties,” the bench said.

At the beginning of the proceedings, senior advocate Shyam Divan, representing Haryana, presented the reply filed by the state government. The Supreme Court inquired why the reply was being submitted at this stage.

Divan explained that the reply was submitted now because the defects in the plea filed by the Delhi government had not been rectified, and pre-filing of the reply was not allowed by the registry.

The Supreme Court then rebuked the Delhi government. The counsel representing the Delhi government stated that the defects had been addressed.

Earlier, the Supreme Court had observed that the acute shortage of drinking water had become an “existential problem” in Delhi. It directed the Himachal Pradesh government to release 137 cusecs of surplus water to the national capital and instructed Haryana to facilitate its flow.

‘There should be no politics over water’

The court emphasised that there should be no political interference in water matters. It highlighted that the Himachal Pradesh government had agreed to release 137 cusecs of surplus water available to Delhi. (Note: One cusec is equivalent to 28.317 liters of liquid flow per second.)

“Since Himachal Pradesh has no objection and is ready and willing to release the surplus water available with it, we direct that Himachal Pradesh shall release 137 cusecs of surplus water available with it from the upstream so that the water reaches Hathnikund barrage and reaches Delhi through Wazirabad,” the bench had said.

Considering the urgency of the matter, the apex court had directed Himachal Pradesh to release the water on June 7 with prior intimation to Haryana. It had said the Upper Yamuna River Board (UYRB) shall measure the excess water which comes to Hathnikund for its onward supply to Wazirabad and Delhi.

While hearing the matter on June 3, the apex court had asked for an emergent meeting of the UYRB on June 5 to address the issue.

The UYRB was set up in 1995 with one of its main functions to regulate the allocation of available flows amongst the beneficiary states and also monitor and review the progress of all projects up to and including the Okhla barrage in Delhi. The beneficiary states include Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Rajasthan, Himachal Pradesh and the National Capital Territory (NCT) of Delhi.

(With PTI inputs)

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