The Gauhati High Court directed the Assam State Disaster Management Authority to take all necessary steps to prevent and eradicate the erosion caused by floods keeping in mind the provisions of the Disaster Management Act, 2005.
The Division Bench of Chief Justice Rashmin Manharbhai Chhaya and Justice Soumitra Saikia disposed of a PIL, filed by a practising lawyer of the Gauhati High Court, which raised some relevant and necessary issues and has, inter alia, prayed for as under:
In the premises aforesaid, your petitioner humbly prays that Your Lordships may be pleased to admit this petition, call for the records of the case and issue a Rule calling upon the respondents to show cause as to why –
I. A writ of mandamus should not be issued directing the Union of India (respondent nos.1) and Assam State Disaster Management Authority (respondent nos. 2) to form proper policies and programmes in terms of the Disaster Management Act, 2005 and National Policy on Disaster Management, 2009 to find out the reason and permanent solution for the flood occurring in Assam each year.
II. A writ of mandamus should not be issued directing the respondent no. (1) to declare the flood of Assam as “National Disaster” and thereafter provide all assistances to get a permanent solution for the floods of Assam.
III. A writ of mandamus should not be issued directing the respondent nos. (1) and (2) to make proper policies and programmes in coordination with respondent nos. (3) to (12) for rehabilitating and flood affected people of Assam, thereby resorting them back to their normal life.
IV. A writ of mandamus should not be issued directing the Public Works (Roads) Department (respondent nos.9) to Gauhati Municipal Corporation (respondent nos.11) to get a proper solution for water logging problem occurring in the city of Guwahati every year.
V. A writ of mandamus should not be issued directing the Gauhati Development Department (respondent no.12) to frame and implement specific policies/guidelines in order to curb the problem of flash floods and water logging problem occurring every year in other urban areas of the State of Assam.
Sandeep . Chamaria, counsel, who is the party-in-person in the petition has submitted some written suggestions which, according to him, would help in solving the problems arising out of flood in the State of Assam and water logging in the city of Guwahati. The written suggestions are taken on record and a copy of the written suggestions is already handed over to the Advocate General by Chamaria.
The Bench noted that the state government has considered the aspect of providing relief to the affected people from the State Disaster Response Fund (SDRF) and State Disaster Mitigation fund (SDMF) under the 15th Finance Commission.
It also noted by the Court from the record that the Government of Assam has also adopted a State level policy for erosion affected families out of the 15th Finance Commission fund. The High court further noted from the record that National guidelines or policy, which are governed under the scope and ambit of disaster management are yet to be formulated by the Union Government.
“In the light of the aforesaid, the respondent authorities, more particularly, respondent no. 2 herein is directed to take into consideration the suggestions made by the learned Advocate, who is the petitioner-in-person in this case, and to take all necessary steps to prevent and eradicate the erosion caused by floods keeping in mind the provisions of the Disaster Management Act, 2005.
“It goes without saying that if the Union of India comes out with a National Policy on disaster management, the same shall be adopted by the State of Assam in its true letter and spirit. The present PIL is closed with the above observations and directions,” the order read.