Madras High Court refuses to restrain officials from acting against water lorries


The judges, however, left it open to the association to highlight its grievance before the officials concerned and pursue the matter with them.

The Madras High Court on Thursday refused to issue a blanket order restraining the revenue officials in Chengalpattu and Kancheepuram districts from taking any kind of action against members of South Chennai Private Water Lorry Owners Association by suspecting them to be transporting the water drawn illegally from borewells dug essentially for the purpose of commercial exploitation of groundwater.

First Division Bench of Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee and Justice Senthilkumar Ramamoorthy said no such restraint order could be passed in the absence of materials to prove that the members of the petitioner association draw water only from agricultural wells that had fallen into disuse, due to non-availability of farm labour and other related problems, as claimed by them and not from borewells.

The judges, however, left it open to the association to highlight its grievance before the officials concerned and pursue the matter with them.

In its affidavit, the association secretary P. Saravanan of Kovilambakkam, stated that it had 425 members who operate more than 2,000 lorries that supply water on a daily basis to hundreds of residential complexes, information technology companies, hospitals and other establishments.

Unused wells

It was claimed that all members of the association draw water only from 30-foot-deep agricultural wells that were in disuse.

However, some villagers, due to jealousy, end up lodging false complaints of illegal drawal of water with the revenue officials and the latter, in turn, harass the water tanker operators frequently, the association complained. It also said that its members had entered into written agreements with agricultural landowners.

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