Thursday 29 August 2013

PIL filed in SC in the aftermath of Uttarakhand Floods

Written by Anil Singh

Right to personal life and liberties are enshrined in article 21 of the Constitution. The right to personal liberties includes the right to live in a dignified manner -- which is fit for any human being. This means a right of life which is free from illness, filth and indignity.

Supreme Court along with the High Courts is the primary custodian of fundamental rights in India. In the wake of recent floods in Uttarakhand and the accompanying loss to human life and property, a PIL has been moved to the Honorable Supreme Court under article 32 of the Constitution. The PIL is fled by SWAMI ACHYUTANAND TIRTH & OTHERS versus UNION OF INDIA & ORS. Noted Lawyer Anurag Tomar is representing the petitioners.

The said PIL is seeking directions/ orders against the Union of India and State Governments of Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh, to take effective and necessary measures/ steps to prevent spread of epidemics in flood effected areas of Uttarakhand as well as in other parts of Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh on account of likelihood of contamination in the stream of Ganga river, due to hundreds of decaying bodies buried under the debris or lying in the open and starting to rot,  in flood effected hill areas of Uttarakhand and poor disaster management by the State Government of Uttarakhand.

Increasing involvement of Supreme Court in ensuring effective administrative action has become the order of the day. The administrative leadership is not perceived to be accountable enough to tackle the problem; hence recourse to Supreme Court. And sure enough, administrative machinery has done little to enthuse that confidence. No meeting of state disaster management authority since its formation in October 2007 was convened.

Warning of the Met department against Char Dham yatra in view of heavy rains was not heeded to.

No arrangement of sanitary facilities or ever increasing Kawar Yatris which poses health threat to the local population. While disasters brought about by cloud burst and landslide are now things of past threat to public health caused by decaying dead bodies, contamination of water in the stream of Ganga, gastroenteritis, typhoid, cholera and epidemic typhus is real. Many people in hills have reported diarrhea, fever, vomiting. A large number of bodies have also been recovered from the downstream Ganges. These fears have been covered by major dailies.

The objective of this petition is to direct the Government, at Centre and state, to take action for avoiding this epidemic situation causing risk to the health and life of the people in Uttarakhand and areas downstream.


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