Supreme Court nixes plea for 100 percent cut in water to liquor industry

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Tuesday declined to entertain a plea seeking 100 percent cut in supply of water to the liquor industry in Maharashtra so that millions of people faced with unprecedented drought could be provided with water. Dismissing the plea as withdrawn, an apex court vacation bench of Justice Prafulla C. Pant and Justice D.Y. Chandrachud said it was a policy matter and any interference in this by the judiciary would amount to taking over governance. Telling the petitioner that the Bombay High Court has already directed 60 percent cut in supply of water to the distilleries, the bench said that the PIL petitioner before the high court could seek modification of that order. Observing that some aspects of the policy matter have to be left to the state government, the bench asked why cut in water supply to the industry should be 60 percent and not 30 percent or 70 percent. The bench also wondered if the plea for 100 percent cut in water supply to the liquor industry was not for "publicity". The petitioner Sanjay Bhaskarrao Kale had questioned an interim order of the Bombay High Court which said that a balance has to be struck between the needs of the people for drinking water and the needs of the industry. Kale said human needs must takes precedence over the needs of the industry because the right to access to drinking water is fundamental to life. There is a duty cast on the state under Article 21 of the constitution to provide clean drinking water to its citizens, the petitioner argued.