A division bench of the High Court on Monday issued a suo motu contempt notice to the state government for failing to recover dues of about Rs 172 crore water cess payable by various government organisations to the Hyderabad Metro Water Works and Sewerage Board (HMWWSB) despite the court’s order.
The bench, comprising acting chief justice NV Ramana and justice Vilas V Afzulpurkar, was dealing with a public interest petition by the Forum for Good Governance challenging the action of the HMWWSB in enhancing the water tariff.
In July last the High Court had directed the municipal administration and urban development (MAUD) department to recover dues of Rs 172 crore within two months and till then not to enhance the water tariff. The bench told the board to reassess the need of enhancement of the tariff after collecting the dues.
Earlier, the MAUD admitted before the court that the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation owed Rs 49.40 crore, police department Rs 5.78 crore, surrounding gram panchayats Rs 41.52 crore, rural water supply department Rs 29.74 crore, Rajiv Gruha Kalpa Corporation Rs 4.46 crore, Gandhi Medical College Rs 4.16 crore, surrounding municipalities Rs 22.84 crore, Military Engineering Services Rs 7.13 crore and other departments Rs 7.35 crore to the water board.
The acting chief justice asked the counsel for the government for the reasons in not implementing the order and in recovering the dues.
When the counsel was not able to give a convincing reply, the bench said that it would take suo motu cognisance of the case under the Contempt of Court Act.
Accordingly, the bench issued notices to the state government and the HMWWSB and adjourned the case by two weeks.