PIL​

PIL​ ​TO​ ​SECURE​ ​THE​ ​RIGHT​ ​TO​ ​DRINKING​ ​WATER​ ​FOR​ ​ALL
With​ ​land​ ​prices​ ​skyrocketing,​ ​Mumbai​ ​competes​ ​with​ ​megacities​ ​in​ ​the​ ​world​ ​as​ ​far​ ​as​ ​land​ ​rates
are​ ​concerned.​ ​Rapid​ ​urbanisation,​ ​increasing​ ​commercialisation​ ​has​ ​led​ ​to​ ​a​ ​boom​ ​in​ ​the​ ​services
sector.​ ​Real​ ​estate,​ ​financial,​ ​communication​ ​and​ ​consultancy​ ​services​ ​claim​ ​the​ ​best​ ​of​ ​the​ ​talent,
with​ ​several​ ​others​ ​left​ ​to​ ​find​ ​employment​ ​in​ ​the​ ​small​ ​scale​ ​industries​ ​or​ ​unorganised​ ​sector.
Consequently,​ ​we​ ​see​ ​a​ ​segregation​ ​of​ ​the​ ​population​ ​based​ ​on​ ​economic​ ​classes​ ​with​ ​the
upper-middle​ ​and​ ​upper​ ​classes​ ​claiming​ ​the​ ​bulk​ ​of​ ​the​ ​available​ ​utilities.​ ​Gentrification​ ​of​ ​the
different​ ​areas​ ​in​ ​Mumbai​ ​has​ ​meant​ ​that​ ​people​ ​belonging​ ​to​ ​economically​ ​weaker​ ​sections​ ​are
compelled​ ​to​ ​inhabit​ ​informal​ ​settlements.
In​ ​Mumbai,​ ​informal​ ​settlements​ ​have​ ​also​ ​been​ ​associated​ ​with​ ​footloose​ ​migrants​ ​from​ ​the​ ​poorer
states​ ​of​ ​India.​ ​An​ ​elitist​ ​view​ ​claiming​ ​the​ ​right​ ​to​ ​Mumbai’s​ ​resources​ ​only​ ​for​ ​those​ ​paying​ ​direct
taxes​ ​has​ ​resulted​ ​in​ ​the​ ​marginalisation​ ​of​ ​slum​ ​dwellers.​ ​Their​ ​status​ ​as​ ​“outsiders”​ ​and​ ​those
belonging​ ​to​ ​the​ ​lowest​ ​class​ ​of​ ​the​ ​population​ ​has​ ​invoked​ ​prejudices​ ​of​ ​criminal​ ​activity​ ​against
them.​ ​Regional​ ​political​ ​parties​ ​have​ ​exploited​ ​their​ ​plight​ ​by​ ​pitting​ ​the​ ​middle​ ​classes​ ​against​ ​them.
Recognising​ ​slum​ ​dwellers​ ​access​ ​to​ ​utilities​ ​would​ ​legitimise​ ​their​ ​status​ ​as​ ​citizens​ ​of​ ​the​ ​city.​ ​This
forms​ ​a​ ​major​ ​reason​ ​for​ ​the​ ​opposition​ ​to​ ​granting​ ​drinking​ ​water​ ​access​ ​to​ ​all​ ​in​ ​an​ ​overcrowded
and​ ​resources​ ​starved​ ​city​ ​like​ ​Mumbai.
In​ ​2011,​ ​Pani​ ​Haq​ ​Samiti​ ​filed​ ​a​ ​public​ ​interest​ ​litigation​ ​to​ ​demand​ ​the​ ​right​ ​to​ ​access​ ​clean​ ​drinking
water​ ​for​ ​all​ ​inhabitants​ ​in​ ​the​ ​city,​ ​irrespective​ ​of​ ​their​ ​economic​ ​class​ ​and​ ​social​ ​status​ ​in​ ​society.
Do​ ​only​ ​the​ ​economically​ ​well​ ​off​ ​deserve​ ​the​ ​right​ ​to​ ​drinking​ ​water?​ ​When​ ​the​ ​constitution​ ​of​ ​India
guarantees​ ​the​ ​right​ ​to​ ​free​ ​movement​ ​within​ ​its​ ​territory,​ ​who​ ​decides​ ​the​ ​legality​ ​of​ ​a​ ​migrants​ ​in​ ​a
city?​ ​Aside​ ​from​ ​these​ ​questions,​ ​the​ ​PIL​ ​also​ ​brought​ ​to​ ​light​ ​the​ ​impact​ ​that​ ​denial​ ​of​ ​drinking
water​ ​had​ ​on​ ​health​ ​and​ ​livelihoods​ ​of​ ​the​ ​marginalised.
Reaction​ ​of​ ​the​ ​authorities
Interim​ ​judgement
Final​ ​judgement