Droughts Situations: Direction issued to implement The Disaster Management Act, 2005
Writ Petition (Civil) No. 857 of 2016
Bench: Justice Madan B. Lokur; Justice N. V. Ramana
Case Brief: In the present case, the matter is brought in the form of a writ petition under Article 32 of the Constitution of India. Here the bench has decided to consider the question relating to the prevailing drought situation or the drought- like situation in the States. In the facts of the case, it is informed by the learned counsel appearing for the petitioner that the petitioner is not a political party, but it is an unregistered non- government organization. Moreover, it is pointed from the averment that the petition was filed in the backdrop of a declaration of drought in some districts or parts thereof in 9 states in India. Drought or “semiscarcity” had since been declared very recently in April, of 2016 in 526 villages followed by another 468 villages in Gujarat states also. All such states are respondent with Union of India. The petitioner here sought the direction to the three states, like Bihar, Gujarat and Haryana to declare a drought and provide essential relief and compensation to the people affected by such drought. Also, claim for the farmers affected by drought, to be paid compensation by the states, for their loss of crops are also made along with other reliefs.
The Bench, observed that the provisions of the Disaster Management Act, 2005 are making it clear that the statute is providing for the risk assessment and risk management in the event of a disaster such as drought and also crisis management in the event of a drought. Bench, seemed surprised when it was informed that no National Plan has been drawn up under section 11 of the Act of 2005 for disaster management also no National Disaster Mitigation Fund yet been set up even after ten years of the enforcement of the said Act. Thus, the said Act has not been faithfully implemented, as observed by the bench. The bench, after considering all the issues behind each aspects in the case, decided to issue directions, including the directions to Union of India to constitute National Disaster Response Force within 6 months, National Disaster Mitigation Fund within 3 months, National Plan at earliest with immediate concern. Also the Union Ministry of Agriculture is directed to update the Drought Management Manual. Also other directions, including the insisting of use of modern technology, etc. were also be issued.
Read the Judgement: Swaraj Abhiyan- (I) Vs. Union of India and Ors