Supreme Court Directs Delhi to Approach UYRB for Water Supply Amid Himachal Pradesh's Reversal

Team Finance Saathi


Key Points:

  1. Delhi instructed by Supreme Court to seek water from UYRB due to Himachal's revised water availability statement.
  2. Complexities of interstate water disputes acknowledged by the bench, emphasizing technical expertise required for decisions.
  3. Immediate action required as UYRB convenes to address Delhi's water crisis on humanitarian grounds.

In a recent legal development, the Supreme Court of India has intervened in the water supply issue affecting Delhi, directing the Delhi government to approach the Upper Yamuna River Board (UYRB) for water supply. This directive follows a reversal by the Himachal Pradesh government regarding its earlier claim of surplus water availability for Delhi.

The case originated from a plea filed by the Delhi government seeking relief amidst a severe water crisis exacerbated by inadequate supply from Haryana, originally sourced from Himachal Pradesh. However, Himachal Pradesh informed the Supreme Court during proceedings that it does not possess the surplus water as previously stated, prompting the need for alternative measures.

Acknowledging the complexity of interstate water disputes, the bench comprising Justices Prashant Kumar Mishra and Prasanna B Varale emphasized the Supreme Court's lack of technical expertise to make interim decisions on such matters. Instead, they highlighted the importance of adhering to established bodies like the UYRB, formed under a 1994 memorandum, for decisions concerning Yamuna water allocation.

As per the Supreme Court's directive, the UYRB is tasked with promptly convening a meeting upon receiving Delhi's application and expeditiously deciding on the water supply issue on humanitarian grounds. This decision underscores the urgent need to address Delhi's water shortage through structured interstate cooperation, while respecting the legal frameworks governing water allocation in India.

The Supreme Court's intervention serves as a pivotal moment in the ongoing debate over water sharing among states, reflecting broader implications for policy and governance related to water resources management. It also highlights the critical role of specialized bodies like the UYRB in resolving disputes and ensuring equitable distribution of water resources across regions.

This article provides an in-depth analysis of the legal complexities involved, the implications of Himachal Pradesh's revised statement, and the procedural steps mandated by the Supreme Court to address Delhi's immediate water supply needs. It aims to clarify the roles of different stakeholders and the significance of judicial oversight in managing critical natural resources such as water in a densely populated and water-stressed country like India.

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