Water and electricity supply form a part of right to life under Article 21 of the Constitution of India: Himachal Pradesh HC

Himachal Pradesh High Court:  A Division Judge Bench comprising of Surya Kant, CJ and Ajay Mohan Goel, J., disposed of an appeal wherein the right to water and electricity supply was directed as them being the basic necessities of life.

The petitioner constructed a residential house against which eviction proceedings were initiated against the petitioner as the land in possession was owned by the State Government. The petitioner applied for the electricity and water connections, but both these amenities were denied on the premise that ‘No Objection Certificate’ was not issued by the Municipal Council.

The respondents submitted that the same cannot be granted as the petitioner has not risen the construction after getting building plan sanctioned plus the petitioner unauthorizedly occupied the Government land and raised illegal construction, without seeking prior approval of the authorities.

The Court agreed to the fact that ordinarily, it would be reluctant in granting relief to a person alleged to be an encroacher over the Government property, but at the same time, it was not expedient to express any view on merits, as any observation in relation to this issue was likely to have impacted on the merits of the case.

The prime consideration was whether the basic amenities of water and electricity shall be granted to the petitioner or not. It was stated that as they were an integral part of Right to Life within the meaning of Article 21 of the Constitution of India calls for immediate action. Thus till the title dispute remains pending, for that considerable period the petitioner shall be granted the same on subject to their payment of requisite charges and shall remain purely an interim and ad hoc measure till the title dispute was decided. Accordingly, the appeal was disposed of. [Madan Lal v. State of Himachal Pradesh, 2018 SCC OnLine HP 1495,  decided on22-10-2018]

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