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Legislating for Water: The Indian Context

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Type: Conference Paper
Author: Ramanathan, Usha
Conference: Inequality and the Commons, the Third Biennial Conference of the International Association for the Study of Common Property
Location: Washington, DC
Conf. Date: September 17-20, 1992
Date: 1992
URI: https://hdl.handle.net/10535/1478
Sector: Social Organization
Water Resource & Irrigation
Region: Middle East & South Asia
Subject(s): IASC
water resources
resource management
indigenous institutions
Abstract: "Statute law and state control in the arena of water management have reinforced each in their development. The span of history of statutory water law in India is less than 130 years, but it has acquired an aura of the eternal which makes the questionings of its fundaments difficult. The experience of the making of such law, its working and its effect does not lend itself to an endorsement of the now-presumed sanctity of statute law. "The advent of statute law, has provided fertile ground for the unreined growth of an intrusive state. Consequently, and relentlessly, it has attacked indigenous, and community-based, systems of control and management of water. Statute law has propounded its own set of values and priorities which have forcibly replaced those learned and cultivated through extended periods of a community's history. "An exegesis of the statutory experience of water law has exposed its purpose, and effect to be less than noble. This paper is an exercise in explaining, both in its process and its substance, the true nature of statute and unwisdom of dependency on this capricious state device."

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