ISLAMABAD: Supreme Court on Thursday warned bottled water companies against passing on the cost borne by them to use groundwater to their consumers.
The warning was issued by a three-member bench of the apex court, headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Mian Saqib Nisar, while hearing a suo motu case regarding the sale of bottled water and extraction of groundwater by bottled water companies.
During the course of proceedings, Barrister Aitzaz Ahsan, who was representing Nestle Water Company at the hearing, remarked that the top court had taken a major step by regulating water companies.
At this, Justice Nisar said: “Whatever can be done expediently must be done regarding the [proper] treatment of water and whatever areas can afford a delay must have a time frame set.”
The chief justice warned that the price of using groundwater had been fixed by the court and must not be avoided by the companies.
“The burden of cost borne by companies for groundwater usage shall not be transferred to consumers,” Justice Nisar declared.
He observed that the government of Sindh had set prices for the use of groundwater.
“Balochistan too has set prices for mineral water and soft drinks,” a representative from the Balochistan government informed the court.
Justice Nisar said the theft of resources must be guarded against and every measure must be taken with “good intent”.
“I had been thinking of launching a movement against the use of mineral water,” the top judge remarked at one point.
The bench ordered bottled water companies to sit down with the court-appointed water commission and decide on how to improve the quality of water and the treatment methods to be employed.
Seeking a detailed report regarding all the recommendations decided upon, the bench then adjourned the hearing until Thursday.