Kerala HC initiates suo moto PIL to monitor flood relief work

The Kerala High Court on Monday itself initiated a public interest litigation to ensure proper monitoring of flood relief operations and directed the government to take proper steps for providing a mechanism to manage emergency situations during the monsoon season.

A division bench headed by Chief Justice S. Manikumar directed the state government to take proper and prompt action during monsoons as the rains cause a severe loss to the lives and properties of people.

“Torrential rains in the state of Kerala cause disaster in many places due to landslides, denudation of water. There are damages to the property of people residing in Pembroke lands, colonies, hill slopes, isolated locations, plantation areas, and others. The sState of Kerala has to take proper and prompt action for prevention of disasters. There are instances of flooding in some areas as well,” it observed.

The court, then directed the Registry to register a suo motu petition to keep an eye on the efforts made by the state government to deal with such situations.

“In the above circumstances, taking note of the mandate under Article 21 of the Constitution of India, duties enjoined on the state/court, to effectively monitor and direct the governments to take proper steps for providing appropriate mechanisms for managing the emergency situations during the monsoon season and otherwise under the provisions of the Disaster Management Act, 2005. We are of the view that a suo motu writ petition should be registered to hear the Government and any other interested parties/aggrieved and issue appropriate directions,” the order stated.

The court was considering a petition seeking orders to the government to set up a high level technical committee to ensure dam safety, consisting of 3 or 4 eminent engineers with at least the Chairman and one more member from outside the state.

However, the Court opined that the matter requires monitoring and decided to initiate a suo motu case, arraying the state government and the heads of the Power Department, the Water Resources Department, the Disaster Management Authority, and the Kerala State Electricity Board.

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