Every water source is govt’s property: HC

 J&K High Court, Srinagar
J&K High Court, SrinagarMubashir Khan/GK File

Srinagar: The High Court of J&K and Ladakh has held that “every water source in the State is and shall remain the property of the Government”.

A bench of Justice Rajnesh Oswal said this while dismissing a plea by residents of the village Qasba Yar of Shopian district, who had sought court intervention not to change, divert or take any water from a canal, Yari Kohal.

“A perusal of Section 3 of Jammu and Kashmir Water Resources (Regulation and Management) Act, 2010, reveals that every water source in the State is and shall remain the property of the Government,” the Court said.

“And any proprietary ownership, riparian or usage right on such water resources vested in any individual, group of individuals or any other body, corporation, company, society or community shall, from the date of commencement of the Act, be deemed to have been terminated and vested with the Government”.

The Court noted that the petitioners (village Qasba Yar residents) have no vested right to demand any particular amount of water, particularly when the authorities have already determined the requirement of different villages. “As such, the action of the respondents (authorities) for reviving the canal in order to cater to the needs of other villages cannot be termed as illegal, unauthorized and without any justification,” it said.

Underscoring that the authorities have already taken into consideration the requirement of water for the village Qasba Yar, the court said: “As such, this Court is of the considered view that the apprehension of the petitioners is without any basis”

Besides seeking to restrain the authorities from raising and completing the construction of new Kohal, the residents had sought directions to the authorities that the water of Yari Kohal be utilized for the purpose of irrigating the local agricultural land.

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