Towards understanding the right to water and sanitation
The right to water and sanitation is necessary for the enjoyment of other human rights, including the right to life and human dignity, the right to health, the right to adequate food, the right to development and the right to a healthy environment. This discussion paper examines the need and background of the right to water and sanitation (RTWS), in both the global context (using existing International Human Rights conventions) and in the Indian context (using the Indian Constitution). It lays down specific details of what a RTWS would entail, in terms of exact provisions that citizens could be entitled to. It also details the difference between RTWS and water rights, examines the judicial interpretation of such a right, using analysis of past cases related to RTWS. It also gives a brief background of the Right to Information (RTI), and analyses about 37 RTI cases related to water and sanitation, as well as RTWS-related provisions in the existing and past Government programs related to water and sanitation, and ends with brief roadmap for implementation of RTWS, including the role of Civil Society Organistions in this process.