Original language


Date of text
Type of court
National - higher court
Court name
Madhya Pradesh High Court
Seat of court
Reference number
AIR 1994 MP 48
Dubey J.; Chawla J.

This case was concerned with a petition requesting a direction to the State of Madhya Pradesh and the Municipal Corporation Gwalior to clean up open drains, dirt, contaminated water and rubbish which the petitioner, a medical doctor, claimed caused the spread of a cholera epidemic.

The respondent claimed that it fulfilled all its duties in taking preventative steps against cholera and in purifying water, removing rubbish etc. However, an inspection found that there were issues with the sewer drain so that in cases of heavy rains, the filthy water was likely to be mixed up with the drinking water.

The Court held that the state had an obligation to provide minimum conditions to ensure every citizen’s right to live in human dignity. It was noted that Article 21 of the Constitution ensures not just physical existence of life, but also a certain quality of life, which means that bare necessities need to be ensured by the state.

Therefore, the Court issued directions to ensure that drinking water will not be contaminated as well as to take other cholera-preventative measures.