Pune: Housing Societies Federation Allege Contempt by PCMC in Water Crisis Response

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Pimpri-Chinchwad, 23rd November 2023: In a sternly worded communication addressed to the Pimpri Chinchwad Municipal Corporation Shekhar Singh , Sattyendra Muley of Satya Muley & Co, representing several housing societies, has raised serious concerns about the escalating water scarcity crisis in the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) and PCMC jurisdictions. The letter, dated 22nd November 2023, underscores the alleged non-compliance with the orders of the Bombay High Court in Public Interest Litigation (PIL) 126/2022.

The PIL, last heard on April 10, 2023, led to the issuance of a court order mandating the formation of a committee to address grievances related to domestic and drinking water shortages in the region. The communication, a copy of which is attached to this report, cites a prior order dated October 11, 2017, in PIL 36/2016 and PIL 25/2016 as a reference point.

The letter reveals that a notice was dispatched by the petitioners to the Municipal Commissioner on June 28, 2023, seeking information on the constitution and functioning of the committee, as ordered by the High Court. However, there has been no response from the Municipal Commissioner’s office, prompting the petitioners to express their surprise and concern.

The housing societies, including the Wagholi Housing Societies Association, Pune District Co-operative Housing Societies and Apartments Federation Limited, and others, allege that PCMC has failed to provide information regarding the committee’s constitution and communication details, violating the High Court’s directives. The petitioners stress that the water scarcity issue has reached an alarming level, causing residents to bear substantial expenses to purchase water from private tanker operators and exposing them to health hazards due to the use of polluted water.

Furthermore, the communication invokes Section 2b of The Contempt of Courts Act, 1971, asserting that the non-compliance with the High Court’s orders amounts to ‘Civil Contempt.’ The petitioners express their disappointment with the lack of response from the authorities, emphasizing the urgency of the situation.

The letter concludes with a seven-day ultimatum for the PCMC Commissioner to provide the requested information. Failure to comply within the stipulated timeframe, as per the letter, may result in the filing of a Contempt Petition against the Municipal Commissioner and other authorities named in the Bombay High Court’s order dated April 10, 2023.

As the water scarcity problem in the PMC and PCMC jurisdictions deepens, this communication adds a new dimension to the ongoing crisis, placing the authorities on notice and demanding swift action to avert potential legal consequences.