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Kerala HC takes suo motu on managing emergencies during monsoon season

- August 8, 2022

Thiruvananthapuram, August 8 (BPNS)

The torrential rains experienced by Kerala from July 30 have resulted in flash floods, landslides, waterlogging, and other rain-related incidents in various parts of the state. It caused extensive damage and also claimed the lives of 20 people (as of August 4). Now, taking note of the past and present incidents, the Kerala High Court has taken suo motu cognizance to take proper and prompt action for the prevention of disasters.

It’s the division bench of Chief Justice S Manikumar and Judge Shaji P Chaly who directed the Registry to register a suo motu writ petition while considering the public interest litigation (PIL) filed by The Foundation for Restoration of National Values.

According to the bench, the suo motu will help to effectively monitor and direct the government to take proper steps for providing appropriate mechanisms for managing the emergencies during the monsoon season and otherwise under the provisions of the Disaster Management Act, 2005.

It also added that it will hear the government and any other interested parties/aggrieved before issuing appropriate directions.

In its interim order, the division bench observed that torrential rains in the state cause disaster in many places due to landslides, denudation of water, etc. There are damages to the property of people residing in puramboke lands, colonies, hill slopes, isolated locations, plantation areas, etc. The state has to take proper and prompt action to prevent disasters. There are instances of flooding in some areas as well.

“In the above circumstances, taking note of the mandate under Article 21 (right to life) of the Constitution of India, we are of the view that a suo motu writ petition should be registered,” reads an excerpt of the judgment.

The suo motu which will be heard after two weeks will now have respondents including the chief secretary, additional chief secretary (local self-government department), principal secretary (power department), Water Resources Department secretary, member secretary Kerala State Disaster Management Authority, and the chairman Kerala State Electricity Board.

Earlier, in the PIL, only the chief secretary, water resources department secretary, and KSEB chairman were made the respondents.