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Delhi water crisis: Supreme Court takes exception to Kejriwal government’s failure to remove defects in petition; hearing deferred to June 12


New Delhi, Jun 10: The Supreme Court on Monday took strong exception to the Delhi government's failure to remove certain defects in its petition seeking a direction to the government to release surplus water provided by Pradesh to deal with the water crisis in the capital.

Deferring the hearing to Wednesday, a Vacation Bench of Justice Prashant Kumar Mishra and Justice Prasanna B Varale warned that it would dismiss the petition if defects were not removed.

“You cannot take this court for a ride. Let the office (Supreme Court Registry) verify that you removed the defects and if you did not, then let the petition be dismissed… It will be dismissed,” the Bench told senior counsel Abhishek Manu Singhvi who represented the Delhi government.

“Defects were pointed out last week and still defects are not removed. Mr Singhvi will not remove the defects…” the Bench said after senior counsel Shyam Divan pointed out on behalf of the Haryana government that the state was unable to upload its documents as defects in the Delhi government's petition had not been removed.

The Haryana government was also represented by Senior Additional Advocate General Lokesh Sinhal.

Meanwhile, Upper Yamuna River Board (UYRB) has told the Bench that “complete information for ascertaining the utilisation (of water) by HP has not been supplied. The Board said Himachal Pradesh was required to provide details such as location, latitude and longitude of withdrawal point, authorised/approved discharge of scheme of that particular withdrawal point, water utilised by HP and surplus water released for Delhi.

“Himachal Pradesh needs to submit the details…to ascertain their utilised share (of water) in the absence of which the Board is not in a position to estimate the unutilised share of the state of HP which they want to share with NCT of Delhi and pass through the state of Haryana,” the UYRB said.

Noting that there was excessive media coverage of the matter, the Bench said it would prefer to read the case file first, instead of going by media reports.

“List it the day after tomorrow so that all the reports etc are on record. We also want to read the file. There is so much reporting in the media and if we do not read files, then media reports can impress us and that's not a good thing,” Justice Mishra remarked.

As Divan offered to hand over certain documents to the Bench, Justice Mishra asked him to file it in the normal course after removal of defects in the Delhi government's petition.

It noted that the compliance/status reports filed by the UYRB and states of Haryana, Delhi and Himachal Pradesh were not on record as the defects in the Delhi government's petition had not been removed.

A Delhi government counsel said certain defects had been removed and that he would go to the Registry to ensure that the remaining defects, if any, were removed.

Terming it “an existential problem” for Delhi, the Bench had on June 6 said that there should be no over the water crisis in Delhi.

The Supreme Court had directed the Himachal Pradesh government to release 137 cusecs of its surplus water to Hathni Kund Barrage for its onward supply to Delhi to enable it to deal with peak summer water crisis.

It had ordered the Haryana government to facilitate further release of the water received from Himachal Pradesh at Hathni Kund Barrage to Wazirabad Barrage to save the national capital from acute water shortage.

“Considering the urgency in the matter, we direct the state of Himachal Pradesh to release the surplus drinking water by June 7, with prior intimation to the Haryana government,” it had said.

The Bench had directed the Upper Yamuna River Board to measure the excess water received at Hathni Kund Barrage from Himachal Pradesh for its onward supply to Wazirabad with the assistance of the state of Haryana. It had also asked the governments of Delhi, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh to file compliance affidavits by June 10.

The Northlines is an independent source on the Web for news, facts and figures relating to Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh and its neighbourhood.

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