The Supreme Court today asked the Centre, National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) and as many as nine disaster-prone states to respond to a PIL seeking implementation of the law "in letter and spirit" to inspire public faith in the backdrop of tragedy in Uttarakhand.
A bench comprising justices A K Patnaik and J S Khehar also issued notices to India Meteorological Department and nine states including Uttarakhand, Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Odisha, Rajasthan and Tamil Nadu on the plea of Delhi-based NGO Foundation for Restoration of National Values.
The NGO, in its PIL, has said a direction to the Union Home Ministry and others to "forthwith fully implement, in letter and spirit, the provisions of the Disaster Management Act, 2005 enacted by the Parliament, to provide for effective disaster management in the country, which inspires public faith, confidence and trust."
It has also referred to the CAG report saying that though there was considerable progress in "setting up institutions and creating funding arrangements", there remained "critical gaps in the preparedness level for various disasters".
"The system which came into effect post the DM Act 2005 is yet to achieve its desired impact. The National Disaster Management Authority which was conceived as the apex planning and supervising body, was found ineffective in its functioning in most of the core areas. It neither had information and control over the progress of work at the state level nor was it successful in implementation of various projects," the CAG report had said.
Referring to the CAG report, Ravi P Mehrotra, appearing for the NGO, sought a direction to the Centre to respond as to "why no action was taken on the CAG Report, which had been tabled in Parliament on 23.4.2013, in regard to the lack of disaster preparedness and management in the country, which vitally affects and concerns the public interest."
The PIL also sought a direction to the Centre as to why the Uttarakhand tragedy was not declared a national disaster.