Delhi Water Crisis: Supreme Court Flags Inaction by Delhi Govt against Water Tanker Mafias
Debayan Roy (Bar  and  Bench) 12 June 2024
The Supreme Court on Wednesday asked the Delhi government to file a report on the steps taken to tackle "water tanker mafias" who appeared to be diverting water supply meant to tackle the ongoing water crisis in Delhi.
A Vacation Bench of Justices Prashant Kumar Mishra and Prasanna B Varale observed that while the Himachal Pradesh government maintained that it had sent water to Delhi, the water supply did not reach the appropriate channels in Delhi. 
The Court added that there may be water tank mafias at work and that this is a problem that recurs every summer. 
The Court also said that it had watched news channels which reported about such mafias. 
The Court warned that if the Delhi government fails to act against such mafias, it will ask the Delhi Police to step in. 
"Water is coming from Himachal Pradesh, then where is the water going in Delhi? There is so much spillage, tanker mafias etc.. What measures have you taken in this regard. In Delhi, tanker mafias work. Have you taken any action? If you are not taking action, then we will hand it over to Delhi police to take action against tanker mafias. We are seeing this in all channels. You are not doing anything in this regard. It is a recurring problem every summer. What have you done to prevent water wastage coming from all these sources? ... Have you taken any action or FIR against any tanker mafias? Tanker mafias get water and pipelines are running dry," Justice Mishra said.
Senior Counsel Dr. Abhishek Manu Singhvi and advocate Shadan Farasat appeared for the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP)-led Delhi government and said that all tankers are Delhi Jal Board tankers only and also assured that sufficient steps were being taken by the government against diversion of water.
"There is action, including massive disconnection of water supplies etc. All that excess water wastage is stopped. We will file a report on all steps taken. All the tankers that you are seeing are Delhi Jal Board tankers," Farasat submitted.
"You file report on steps taken to prevent loss of water," the Court replied.
The Court proceeded to order the government of Delhi to file an affidavit to explain the steps taken to prevent the loss of water either today or by tomorrow before the matter is heard again.
Senior Advocate Shyam Divan appeared for the Haryana government. Advocate Anup Kumar Ratta represented the Himachal Pradesh government. The matter will be heard next on Thursday (tomorrow).
The Court was hearing the Delhi government's petition seeking directions to the State of Haryana to facilitate the supply of water to the national capital from Himachal Pradesh.
The Delhi government had sought the additional water to tackle the ongoing heatwave as a stop-gap emergency measure.
The top court had earlier ordered the Central government to hold a meeting of all stakeholders, who form part of the Upper Yamuna River Board, to address the Delhi government's demands.
On June 6, the Court had taken note of the urgency in the matter and directed Himachal government to release 137 cusecs of water. Pertinently, it had directed Haryana to facilitate the same, as the water passes through its canals there before reaching Delhi.
During the last hearing on June 10, the Court had remarked that it cannot allow itself to be swayed by the excessive media coverage of the case.
1 month ago
Everyone else is at fault except AAP people. So, half a dozen of them in jail. Lies galore!
1 month ago
on one hand aap govt says all is well and have been fooling the people ,it is hightime people understand how these people take them for a ride and only come and meet them during votes citizens should be more prudent and remove these type of people who are only looting the exchequer money.
already this govt have been involved in liquorgate and then sheeshmahal and Jal board gotala and lot of them will be there
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