High Court wants more independent members on Maha govt's water panel

High Court wants more independent members on Maha govts water panel
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The Bombay High Court today said the committee of experts directed to be set up by Maharashtra government to look into the state\'s \'Jalyukt Shivar Abhiyaan

Mumbai: The Bombay High Court today said the committee of experts directed to be set up by Maharashtra government to look into the state's 'Jalyukt Shivar Abhiyaan' project should ideally have more independent members than those serving for the government. Last December, the high court had directed the state government to constitute a committee of experts to look into suggestions of conserving water and distributing it systematically and scientifically.

The court had then directed the government to refer its Jalyukt Shivar Abhiyaan project, which aims at making Maharashtra drought-free by 2019, to the committee of experts. A division bench headed by Justice A S Oka was today informed that the committee was yet to be constituted. Government pleader Abhinandan Vagyani told the court that the process has been initiated, but no decision could be taken due to code of conduct in place prior to the elections. "The order was passed in December. Needless to say the code of conduct will not come in between the government complying with court orders.

The decision to set up the committee ought to have been taken by now. It would also be appropriate if majority of the members in the committee are independent and not in service of the state," the court said. Justice Oka said since the committee has to look into the government's project it would be better if independent experts, who are not in service of the government, would be part of the panel. The court was hearing a public interest litigation filed by a professor, H M Desarda, challenging the government's decision to release huge quantity of water from Gangapur dam for the Kumbh Mela held in Nashik between July and September 2015. The court has posted the petition for further hearing on February 27, by when the government will have to take its final decision.

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