MUMBAI: The Bombay high court on Monday rapped the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation, asking why it was providing water supply to residents of illegal buildings and not to similarly placed slum-dwellers.
A division bench of Justices Abhay Oka and A S Gadkari, hearing a PIL, was miffed at the answer they got when they asked BMC's counsel Anil Singh why illegal buildings get water supply. "For illegal buildings, we don't give water. If the plan is approved but there is no occupation certificate, on humanitarian grounds, we give them,'' said Singh, adding that for slums up to 2000, water is provided. The judges asked what about post-2000 slums. "So long as people occupy them, you have to give them water supply," said Oka, adding that "it is the part of Article 21'' (Right to Life).
The judges clarified that they were not batting for illegal slum-dwellers.
The court heard a PIL by Pani Haq Samiti for water to every resident in Mumbai. The NGO's advocate, Mihir Desai, said a provision can be made for water booths/fountains. "Who will take responsibility to pay the bills?'' asked Singh. The judges said pre-paid cards can be issued after taking money from slum-dwellers. The judges said they will pass interim orders for installation of water fountains and prepaid cards for slum-dwellers on Tuesday.