Groundwater is a common resource and it ought to be regulated: SC


supreme_court_scbaNew Delhi: The Supreme Court on Friday issued notice to the center and the Delhi government asking as to why there should not be metering and pricing of the ground water which was being pumped out in huge quantities resulting in its depletion.

A bench of Justice T.S.Thakur, Justice V.Gopala Gowda and Justice R. Banumathi said that “groundwater is a common resource and it ought to be regulated. Use by one affects the other”.

The court gave the governments six weeks time to file their response.

Appearing for the petitioner Ramesh Ailawadi, counsel Prashant Bhushan told the court that the matter was of “enormous public importance since groundwater is wasted in huge quantities in the country, and that depletion of groundwater has reached alarming proportions”.

Ailawadi has challenged the April 22 dismissal of his PIL by the Delhi High Court. The PIL had raised the issue of “scandalous wastage, exploitation, and depletion of groundwater”.

He filed the instant special leave petition against the impugned judgment whereby his public interest litigation was dismissed in a summary manner without examination of the public interest issues raised in it.

The petitioner has raised the issue of complete inadequacy of the current system wherein the state has completely abdicated its responsibility of regulating the usage of this precious and valuable natural resource.

He has contended that it was in “complete violation of the public interest doctrine, and thus negating the rights of the people of this country under article 14 and 21 of the constitution of India.”

“The alarming depletion of groundwater is asking for urgent attention, where its highly inequitable use is causing its severe shortage, because of which millions of people have been deprived of its access. The future scenario is even grimmer as brought out in several official reports,” the petitioner said.

“Groundwater forms part of the various natural resources that have been imparted to us by the nature and the government is the guardian of such natural resources and therefore bears a heavy responsibility to lead the country in sustainable and equitable use of such resources.”