The first bench comprising Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee and Justice Senthilkumar Ramamoorthy before whom the plea came directed the BDO to physically inspect the site in the presence of both the petitioner and the private respondent and file a report on the issue by June 24.
The bench also directed the BDO to look into the revenue records and the documents of title that may be produced by the private respondent.
“The concerned official will try and ascertain how the old channel existed and the flow of water therein and also the diverted route for the flow of water. The official will try and ensure equitable distribution of water between the private respondent if he is entitled to the property, and the downstream farmers,” the bench said. The State government had submitted that a patta has been granted in respect of the land in favour of the private respondent and he diverted the water channel. As a consequence, some downstream farmers were prejudiced and the local panchayat body resolved that the original flow of the water from the channel be restored along with allowing the diversion. Also, pointing out that a dispute had emerged as to whether the diversion was made by the local panchayat body or by the private party himself, the State submitted that further inspection is necessary to ensure that the downstream farmers are not adversely affected by the diversion.
However, the petitioner claimed that the private party had no patta as claimed and the entire exercise was undertaken to divert the water and block the filling up of downstream lakes used by other farmers.