Tamil Nadu’s High Court has ordered Chennai Commissioner of Police to permit Arappor Iyakkam, a non-profit charity, to hold protests in the city of Chennai and near Valluvarkottam June 30.
This follows the initial rejection of Iyakkam’s application to protest by the commissioner of police on June 20. The police alleged that a separate protest was occurring on the same day and would cause undue to conflict and disturbance creating a law and order problem.
The protesters challenged the denial order maintaining that a denial of the right to protest was a violation of their fundamental right to free speech and expression that is guaranteed by the Constitution.
Justice N Anand Venkatesh has supported the protesters right to protest and stated that the issue
“is a burning issue about which the people must be made aware. The government is making all its efforts to ensure that water is supplied to the nook and corner of the city”.
Tamil Nadu is facing severe water shortages due to a deficit in rainfall and poor storage in various reservoirs. Thus far the government has addressed the issue through measures such as rainwater harvesting; increasing the number of trios by tankers.
Tamil Nadu rural and municipal administration minister further stated that trips to water reservoirs have increased from 9,000 to 11,360 trips each day.
Judge Venkatesh further stated that;
“it is important to realise as to why we have reached the present state of affairs as a result of various water bodies that were allowed to be encroached in the past and virtually destroying the ecosystem”.