SC nixes plea for 100% cut in water to Maharashtra liquor industry

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The Supreme Court on Tuesday declined to hear a petition seeking to cut water supply to breweries, distilleries and other related industries in the drought-hit regions of the state.
A vacation bench of justice PC Pant and justice DY Chandrachud said the Bombay high court has already passed an interim order in this regard.
“These are policy matters and not for the courts to intervene. This will amount to judicial interference in administrative issues. The HC has given an interim order and the matter is pending there,” the bench told the petitioner, a social activist who claimed breweries in the state are consuming 90 thousand million cubic (TMC) feet of water annually.
The petitioner, Sanjay Bhaskarrao Kale, challenged the HC’s April 26 order that permitted 40% reduction in the water supply to the liquor industry. Kale said there should be a complete ban.
The counsel argued that the government policy favoured her client’s petition and people in Aurangabad district do not have even a drop of water to survive.
She asserted people were dying in the state due to a shortage of water but the government was distributing it to the liquor industry. Citing official data, Kale claimed there is an unauthorised lifting of water by the industry, besides the regular supply.
The requirement of water in Maharashtra for drinking and other domestic use is less than 20 TMC per year, the petition claimed. Kale argued the government was under obligation to give preference to drinking purpose, secondly for agriculture and then commercial.
The petitioner recalled SC’s earlier judgement ruling “trade in liquor is not a fundamental or constitutional right.” He said liquor production consumed a lot of water and it’s neither healthy nor essential to human life.

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