Delhi HC Pulls Up AAP Govt, Civic Bodies For Apathy In Measures To Tackle Quakes, Natural Calamities

The Delhi High Court on Thursday has expressed its dissatisfaction with the Delhi Government & Civic Authorities on the non implementation of action plan with regard to the seismic stability of buildings in the National Capital.

A bench of the Chief Justice and Justice Prateek Jalan directed Delhi Government, Municipal Corporations and other respondents to file their replies as to what action has been taken in at least 25 buildings in their jurisdiction and about the action plan notified by the GNCTD on April 24.

The Courts direction came on an application filed by Advocate Arpit Bhargava seeking urgent direction to the Govt & it’s authorities to act in a time bound manner and apprise the court about the steps taken and intended to be taken/ preparedness in case major earthquake strikes Delhi in near future.

The application has been filed in the pending Public Interest Litigation related to seismic stability of buildings in Delhi & how safe are residents of Delhi in the event of an earthquake striking Delhi.

“The petitioners are compelled to file the application in the wake of almost 11 earthquakes striking Delhi -NCR from 12th April till 4th June & recorded by National Centre of Seismology,” stated in the application.

As per the Delhi High Court previous orders in August 2015, the court had noted “that about 10 to 15% of Delhi Building’s comply with the Building Code and regulations which are specific for Seismic Zone IV. The rest of the buildings are non-compliant. This is an alarming position and there is a disaster waiting to happen”.

The authorities did not complied with the directions of the Delhi High Court despite repeated warnings. In May, 2019, the court had warned of Contempt Proceedings for non compliance of Orders against all the concerned officials of Delhi Government, as well as the highest officials of MCD, Delhi Development Authority, New Delhi Municipal Corporation, Delhi Cantonment Board & other local authorities.

Following which, in Dec 2019, the Court had granted final opportunity to present the detailed Action Plan & had directed the Chief Secretary of Delhi Government to remain present in Court. In fact, Delhi has witnessed many low frequency earthquakes in the past several months, at the same time when its dealing with Coronavirus pandemic, burden on the health sector has been doubled. The ground reality about the preparedness towards natural calamity i.e. earthquakes should come up before the public.

-India Legal Bureau