Supreme Court reprimanded Delhi Government over Water Mafia Crisis

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Today (June 12, 2024), the Supreme Court (SC) of India sharply criticized the Delhi government for failing to curb the tanker mafia and rampant water wastage, demanding an explanation of the steps taken to address these issues. A vacation bench of Justice Prashant Kumar Mishra and Justice Prasanna B Varale warned the Delhi administration that it may direct the Delhi Police to intervene if the government remains ineffective. The bench said “Delhi tanker mafia is working, and you are not taking action. If the Delhi government cannot take action, then we can ask Delhi police to take action.” Further, the bench asked, "Why were misleading statements presented before this court? With water being supplied from Himachal Pradesh, the extensive spillage and tanker mafia activities in Delhi are unacceptable. What steps have you implemented to combat this?" 

Moreover, after considering the media reports regarding the Delhi water crisis, the SC bench remarked, "People are suffering, as evident from visual reports on various news channels. What proactive measures have you adopted to minimize water wastage, especially given the recurring summer water shortages?" During the proceedings, Advocate Shadan Farasat, representing the Delhi government, assured the court that stringent actions, including massive water supply disconnections, are underway to counteract the excessive wastage. Also, Senior Advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi said before the SC vacation bench “We are here to find the solution. Please see Himachal Pradesh affidavit and status report filed by the Delhi Government.”

In this context, the SC said, “Why are secretaries not filing the affidavits? Why are ministers filing these affidavits? Himachal says they have released the excess water already. Now, Himachal says they don't have any excess water. Why was the board not informed? Water is coming from Himachal and where is water going to Delhi? So many losses are happening in travel.” After hearing the matter from both parties, the SC bench directed the Delhi government to submit a detailed report on actions taken regarding water loss, with the case scheduled for further hearing on Thursday. The court is reviewing a plea from the Delhi government requesting an order for Haryana to release surplus water provided by Himachal Pradesh to aid the capital’s water crisis.