CHENNAI: The Madurai Bench of Madras High Court set aside the order passed by the Sub Divisional Magistrate to stop unauthorized exploitation of ground water at Servaikaranmadam village in Thoothukudi district.
Hearing a petition filed by two residents of Servaikaranmadam, the court quashed the order of the magistrate stating that the lower court neither heard the petitioners nor gave an opportunity to them to examine the complaints filed against them, as contemplated under section 138 of the Code of Criminal Procedure.
The sub Divisional Magistrate, Thoothukudi passed orders against the petitioners, B Joseph Durai Anand and A Alangaram, for the removal of nuisances under section 138 of CrPC to stop the unauthorised exploitation of groundwater from their lands. The magistrate issued the order based on a complaint from the district administration which alleged that indiscriminate drawal of groundwater for sales was depriving the local community of water resource besides depleting the water table.
The petitioners submitted their explanation to the magistrate stating that the water extracted through borewells was meant only for agriculture and drinking water purpose, and not for any commercial use. In order to meet the domestic needs of students, patients, labourers and local residents, they were supplying water to educational institutions, hospitals and people residing in the neighbourhood. But the authorities failed to buy their reply, said G Prabhu Rajadurai, the petitioners’ counsel.
The counsel also contended that the Sub Divisional Magistrate didn’t comply with the procedures under the provisions of CrPC for invoking the jurisdiction under section 138 of CrPC. After hearing both the sides, Justice S Vimala set aside the order stating that the lower court had failed to follow the procedures as contemplated under section 138 of CrPC.