“These are all policy decisions and the court's interference will be like taking over governance”
The Supreme Court today refused to direct the Maharashtra government to completely cut the water supply to the distilleries and breweries in the state and divert drinking water to drought-hit regions.
A vacation bench of Justices P C Pant and D Y Chandrachud also pulled up the petitioner, who had sought 100 per cent cut in the water supply to the state liquor industry, for having approached the apex court “just for the sake of publicity”.
“The Bombay High Court has already passed an interim order in this regard. Why are you coming against an interim order of the high court? The high court has already allowed a 60 per cent cut, now what do you want? These are all policy decisions. There has to be a balance”, the bench said.
When the counsel, appearing for petitioner Sanjay Bhaskarrao Kale said the entire region is severely drought-hit and there is a policy in this regard for diverting water supply the bench said, “These are all policy decisions and the court's interference will be like taking over governance. Even the 60 per cent cut has no basis. There can be no justification. These are all policy decisions and the courts cannot interfere in all these matters”.
The apex court finally asked the counsel for the petitioner to withdraw the plea and termed it as dismissed as withdrawn. The court, however, granted Kale the liberty to approach the high court.
The Aurangabad bench of Bombay high court had asked state government to curtail water supply to the liquor industry by 60 per cent from May 10, which would be operative till June 27.
The petitioner said people are being deprived of the drinking water as it is being given to the liquor industries. Earlier, the Bombay High Court had also askedMaharashtra to cut supply to other industrial units in Marathwada by 25 per cent after May 10.
The Aurangabad bench of Bombay high court had also asked the Maharashtra government to cut water supply to distilleries and breweries in Aurangabad by 60% from 10 May.
The court asked the state to also cut supply to other industrial units in Marathwada by 25% after 10 May.
These water cuts will be effective till 27 June, the court said. The HC order came on a petition filed by Aurangabad-based social activists and lawyers.
The Aurangabad divisional commissionerate had earlier cut water supply to distilleries and breweries by 25% and other industries by 20%, following protest by farmers and political parties against water supply to the liquor industry in the region.
The court has extended this and said that water supply to the liquor industry must be cut by 60% and by 25% for other industries.
Aurangabad in Marathwada has 16 distilleries and breweries, including those of global firms like SabMiller and Carlsberg and local brands like Kingfisher and Khajuraho.
Read the order here.