Because of lack of expertise, we may do more harm”: Madras High Court’s cautionary note while hearing PIL for groundwater protection

“Because of lack of expertise, we may do more harm”: Madras High Court’s cautionary note while hearing PIL for groundwater protection

“Because of lack of expertise in this area, we may do more harm…Let us not make any pretences, we know nothing…”, the Court orally observed.
"Because of lack of expertise, we may do more harm": Madras High Court's cautionary note while hearing PIL for groundwater protection
Madras High Court
Meera Emmanuel

A PIL moved before the Madras High Court over the depletion of groundwater resources saw Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee voice concern over the need for courts to exercise restraint in matters that require expert assessment.

Sitting with Justice Senthilkumar Ramamoorthy, Chief Justice Banerjee acknowledged that the issues raised in the PIL were serious. However, he proceeded to point out that the matter would be better dealt with if experts were consulted so that the government could take an informed decision.

He opined that the courts may not be the appropriate forum to take a call on such matters, given their lack of expertise.

Because of lack of expertise in this area, we may do more harm…Let us not make any pretences, we know nothing…“, he orally remarked.

Appearing for the petitioner, Advocate Kaushik N Sharma, however, urged that the Court may consider appointing an expert committee to look into the matter. In response, the Court agreed to issue notice in the case, given that “is is a matter of some seriousness.”

This is a matter of grave importance not only for the state… because we are arbitrarily drawing ground water without any effort to recharge it…”, the Court observed.

Chief Justice Banerjee emphasised that there has to be some scientific study on the issue. He added that such concerns may not be prioritised by governments since these are long-term concerns, which would extend beyond the 5-year term that a ruling regime may last for.

The High Court has asked Advocate General Vijay Narayan to assist it in the matter. The case has been posted be taken up on January 18.

Read the order:

Attachment
PDF
Order re groundwater – January 4, 2021.pdf

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