Constitutional mandate and judicial initiatives influencing Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) programmes in India
This paper undertakes a thorough review of the legislative and policy framework of water supply and sanitation in India within the larger backdrop of the universal affirmation of right to water and sanitation under the UN WASH initiatives, first articulated under the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Recognizing the proactive role played by the Indian judiciary in this regard, the paper examines various patterns of judicial reasoning in realising the right to water and sanitation as Constitutional rights of citizens. The paper observes that through a consistent ‘rights-based’ approach, the Indian judiciary has systematically articulated and achieved the objectives of the UN WASH initiatives long before they were spelled out under the MDGs. The paper highlights the need for the Government to recognise and incorporate judicial insights in implementing developmental projects under the WASH initiatives.