The Delhi High Court on Monday dismissed a plea requesting the Centre establish a high-powered joint committee to investigate the Joshimath crisis in Uttarakhand.
A division bench, headed by Chief Justice Satish Chandra Sharma and comprising Justice Subramonium Prasad, dismissed the Public Interest Litigation (PIL), filed through advocate Rohit Dandriyal, after the petitioner said that the area was affected due to climate and infrastructural changes.
The Uttarakhand government, on January 11, informed the court that the affected areas in Joshimath were being handled by the National and State Disaster Response Forces (SDRF).
Uttarakhand’s Deputy Advocate General J.K. Sethi had submitted that two committees have already been formed with a rehabilitation package being prepared. On January 9, the High Court had asked the petitioner requesting the Centre to establish a high-powered joint committee to see if any similar plea has been moved in the apex court as well.
On January 11, Sethi had said: “We have deployed NDRF, we are working on the issue. We have resettled and relocated many people, we are working on that. We are seized of the matter. Groundwork is being done.”
The petition was filed for the affected districts of Joshimath, asking for the formation of a commission and ordering members of all pertinent ministries to look into this immediately. The argument made in the petition was that the construction work done in Joshimath in previous years served as a trigger for the current situation and that by doing so, the respondents infringed on the inhabitants’ fundamental rights.
The argument also claimed that the government is currently required to behave as a welfare state and is obligated to provide its inhabitants with contemporary, livable housing. It further stated that it is imperative that the government recognises the hardship of the residents of the Garhwal region and take action to give them access to the necessities for a decent living.