ELANGBAM AMUJAO SINGH Vs. STATE OF MANIPUR
HIGH COURT OF MANIPUR
Elangbam Amujao Singh
STATE OF MANIPUR
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RAMALINGAM SUDHAKAR; CJ.:-- -
(1.) Heard Mr. E.Premjit Sinhg, learned counsel for the petitioner and Mr. N.Kumarjit, learned Advocate General, Manipur for the State respondents.
(2.) The prayers in this PIL are as follows:-
"a) Issue a Writ, Order, or Direction in the nature of Mandamus to the Respondents to implement various water supply projects in the state including Jal Jeevan Mission of the Jal Shakti Ministry within a fixed time frame;
b) Pass such other and further order(s) as this Hon 'ble Court may deem fit and proper under the facts and circumstances of the case.
IN THE INTERIM
a) Direct the Respondents to submit the status report with regard to the followings:
i. How much amount has been sanctioned for the project?
ii. When was the amount sanctioned?
iii. If so sanctioned, when was the amount received?
iv. How much of money has been spent till now out of the sanctioned amount?
v. When was the project started?
vi. How much time period is required to complete the project?
vii. How many staffs are required to execute such project?
viii. How many experience Engineers having Master Degree holder in PHE is required for the said project?
ix. How many such Engineers are available in the Department?
x. Whether is it possible to execute/implement such big project by the existing Engineers of the Department?
xi. By which Department, the project is to be executed?
xii. Has any timeframe be drawn to complete the project?
xiii. If so, by which date, the project is stipulated to be completed?
xiv. Pass such other and further order(s) as this Hon 'ble Court may deem fit and proper under the facts and circumstances of the case. "
(3.) This PIL is based on a report in the press stating that while inaugurating Waithoupat Water supply scheme, no time frame has been indicated for implementing the water supply scheme under the Jal Jeevan Mission of the Jal Shakti Ministry. The petitioner relies upon a media news to state that a huge amount has been given in grant-in-aid with 90% Central share and 10% State share to improve the drinking water supply schemes in the State of Manipur. The petitioner also relies upon one project inaugurated by the Chief Minister of Manipur, namely, Thoubal Waithoupat water supply scheme. The news report on the inauguration of Waithoupat Water supply scheme speaks about implementing the Jal Jeevan Mission of the Jal Shakti Ministry by the State Government based on a detailed project report for about Rs.2600 crores. It is stated that New Development Bank approved and sanctioned the amount for executing the Jal Jeevan Mission schemes. While it is so, the petitioner states that the implementation of the Jal Jeevan Mission would not be effective because no specific timeline has been given for completion of the projects. Secondly, there are vacancies in the post of Chief Engineer, Superintendent Engineer and Engineers at various levels and unless and until experienced and competent engineers are appointed at the grassroots level, the execution of this Jal Jeevan Mission will be a farce. On this premise, a mandamus has been sought for to direct the respondents to implement the water supply projects under the Jal Jeevan Mission of the Jal Shakti Ministry in a fixed time frame.4 The Hon 'ble Supreme Court in several cases particularly in the case of Bandhua Mukti Morcha v. Union of India; (1984) 3 SCC 161, Chameli Singh v. State of U.P.; 1996 (2) SCC 549, Subhas Kumar v. State of Bihar, ( 1991) 1 SCC 598 and A.P. Pollution Control Board II v. Prof. M.V.Nayudu, 2001 (2) SCC 62 has held that right to good drinking water is a fundamental right. The Hon 'ble Supreme Court in the case of A.P. Pollution Control Board II (supra) held at para Nos. 3 and 4 as below:-
"3. Drinking water is of primary importance in any country. In fact, India is a party to the Resolution of the UNO passed during the United Nations Water Conference in 1977 as under:
"All people, whatever their stage of development and their social and economic conditions, have the right to have access to drinking water in quantum and of a quality equal to their basic needs. "
Thus, the right to access to drinking water is fundamental to life and there is a duty on the State under Article 21 to provide clean drinking water to its citizens. ;
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