New Delhi, Jan 30 Supreme Court today directed all state governments to file affidavits within two weeks affirming whether they would implement the Centre's Master Plan for Artificial Recharge to Ground Water in India, 2013.
A bench comprising Chief Justice J S Khehar and Justice N V Ramana passed the direction after Additional Solicitor General P S Patwalia, appearing for the Centre, said copies of the 2013 Master Plan have been supplied to the states.
Patwalia said the issue of ground water harvesting was "important" and the Centre has been circulating various plans from time to time to all states from 2006 onwards.
To this, the bench asked the counsel appearing for the states, "Are you going to implement it (Master Plan 2013) or not?"
Some of the counsel said "yes" after which the apex court directed all the states to file an affidavit within two weeks.
"ASG P S Patwalia has handed over to us the Master Plan for Artificial Recharge of Ground Water in India of the year 2013. He states that all the state governments must implement the scheme of recharge of ground water as suggested in the master plan.
"In view of the above, all state governments shall file affidavit in this court within two weeks from today with copies to the ASG and the counsel for the petitioner affirming whether or not they would implement the master plan 2013," the bench said and listed the matter for hearing after four weeks.
On January 20, the apex court had asked all states to specify the status of implementation of the 2013 Master Plan of the Central Ground Water Authority (CGWA) on ground water harvesting, while observing that ground water harvesting was an "important issue".
It had also asked the CGWA administrator to supply a copy of the master plan to the concerned states.
The Centre had told the top court that most of the states have implemented CGWA Master Plan with regard to harvesting of ground water, while Delhi government had said they have made it mandatory for all new buildings to have water harvesting systems in place.
The court was hearing a petition which had raised concern over the depleting ground water level across the country.