The Supreme Court requests the Bureau of Indian Standards to suggest measures to improve the quality of water supplied in Delhi

Supreme Court: Suspicion, However Strong, cannot take the place of Proof

The Supreme Court requested the BID to suggest measures to improve the quality of water after BIS filed its report with regard to the quality of water in Delhi stating that none of the samples of Drinking water are in conformity with the ISO standards.

Brief facts:

The Supreme Court had taken suo motu cognizance of the controversy with regard to the unsafe drinking water in the city of Delhi. On 13th January, 2020, the Division bench of Supreme Court of India Comprising Justice Arun Mishra and Justice Deepak Gupta passed an order directing the BIS to submit a report relating to water supplied in Delhi by testing the various water samples in Delhi. Complying with the above order water samples were collected from 11 separate customer end source in Delhi. Each sample taken was of 100 litres. The said samples were sent to laboratories for testing 47 out of 48 parameters which includes organoleptic & Physical tests, Chemical tests, Toxic substance, and bacteriological, virological and biological test excluding the radiological tests.

On 28th February, 2020, BIS filed an affidavit before the Supreme Court annexing the report which stated that none of the samples collected from various locations at Delhi conformed with the requirements as per IS 10500:2012 (Specification for drinking water). The report further stated that the samples were afflicted with coliform contamination which occurs when faecal matter gets mixed up with the treated drinking water.  The consumers consuming this water are more prone to gastro-intestinal diseases. The advocate representing the BIS argued that the 11 samples collected from the Delhi at the end source in piped domestic water supply were not conforming to the standards of the drinking water purity.

Key features:

1. The Supreme Court bench ordered the BIS to test the drinking water quality in Delhi.

2. 11 water samples of each 100 litres were collected by the BIS from various consumers at the end source.

3. When tested the samples against the 47 parameters out of 48, they did not conform to the standards of drinking water purity.

4. The report stated that the drinking water was contaminated with more of coliform that occurs when sewage is mixed with the treated water and hence is unfit for drinking purpose.

Subsequent to the filing of report by the BIS, the Supreme Court has ordered joint inspection with Central Pollution Control Board and Delhi Jal Board. The court further requested the BIS to suggest measure so as to improve the quality of water. 

Edited by J. Madonna Jephi

Approved & Published – Sakshi Raje


1. Report of Testing of piped Drinking water samples drawn from Delhi, Bureau of Indian Standards

Lavanya Narayanan
I am Lavanya Narayanan, pursuing a master's in international law. With three years into the profession, I am currently reviving my long-forgotten passion for writing. As and when I find a time I watch debates and interviews on the current affairs of our nation. My areas of interest are criminal law, women and child rights especially toddlers. I love listening to puranic stories. I believe accepting things you don’t know as you don’t know leads you to the path of growth. Happy reading!