Release of Water for 2015 Kumbh Mela Was Illegal, Rules Bombay HC

The court stated that this was in contrary to the 2003 state water police.

New Delhi: The Bombay high court has set aside Maharashtra chief secretary’s January 2016 order and held that the water released for holy baths during Kumbh Mela 2015 from Godavari river was illegal. The court, in its judgment on February 18, stated that this was in contrary to the 2003 state water police, Times of India reported.

A two-judge bench of the court further directed the state to amend its resolutions regarding the Jalyukta Shivar Abhiyan (JSA) and River Rejuvenation Programme using a scientific approach.

The order was given on a petition filed by Aurangabad economist H.M. Desarda who had brought up the issue of water release. Desarda had also challenged the Maharashtra government’s unscientific approach in implementing its flagship water conservation scheme JSA. Following Desarda’s petition, the state formed an expert committee to look into the matter.

“The committee considered objections by the petitioner and accepted at least two of them. One is on the necessity of the adopting ridge-to-valley principle, while the second is that villages should not be the planning unit for the scheme,” the two-judge bench comprising Justices A.S. Oka and M.S. Sonak observed.

According to Times of India, while disposing of the petition, subject to compliance within the next four months, the court directed the state to consider “recommendations of the committee” and to take a decision on its implementation.