Mumbai: In a jolt to Vijay Mallya-owned United Breweries Ltd, the Bombay high court on Monday directed the beer manufacturing company to pay water bills from the year 2001 till date to the Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation (MIDC).
A division bench was hearing a petition filed by United Breweries challenging a circular issued by MIDC in October last year along with water bills raised by the corporation against the company.
MIDC had issued the circular along with the increased water bills pursuant to a notification issued by the Maharashtra government in 2001 raising water rates by 1000% for industries that are classified as “industries using water as raw material”.
The court, however, refused to grant any relief and directed the company to pay water bills at the revised rate from 2001 till date.
According to the petition, United Breweries, engaged in manufacturing beer under brand names such as Kingfisher and London Pilsner, had set up three manufacturing units in Taloja and Nerul in Navi Mumbai.
MIDC and the company had entered into water supply agreements, by which, the corporation can fix charges for water from time to time at its discretion. “However, any change in water rate will have to be informed to the company one month in advance. MIDC did not give any notice regarding change in water rates,” the petition states.
The court, however, did not find any merit in the argument and dismissed the petition. The bench has stayed its order for four weeks to permit the company to approach the apex court. It has however directed the company to deposit 50% of the due amount as security.