Converting a public interest litigation (PIL) petition into suo motu proceedings, the Madras High Court on Friday directed the Tamil Nadu government to inform the court on December 16 about the coordination in respect of relief measures in flood-affected areas and the course of action to be followed.
The first Bench comprising Chief Justice S.K. Kaul and Justice Puspha Sathyanarayana also directed the government to list the steps taken to rehabilitate the affected people.
Earlier, advocate A.P. Suryaprakasam had filed a PIL petition seeking to appoint micro-level disaster management committees to coordinate flood relief work.
When the petition came up for hearing on Friday, the Bench said, “We are not inclined to entertain the petition at the behest of the petitioner. We, however, convert this into a suo motu proceeding.”
Making it clear that the objective of the proceeding was to ensure that there was coordination for relief measures and the people who need such relief received the benefit, the Bench impleaded the Union Ministry of Defence since the rescue operations and provisions were being provided by the Army, Navy and the Coast Guard.
As the Assistant Solicitor General informed the court that the National Disaster Management Authority was overseeing the relief measures, the Bench made the authority also party to the case.
Considering the urgency of the issue, the Bench said, “We would also like to know urgently how it is possible for the people who are interested in financially assisting in the relief measures to give their contribution and also what coordination would take place with the NGOs who also have done considerable work in providing relief.”
The Bench posted the proceeding to December 16 .
Mr. Suryaprakasam in his PIL plea alleged that the recent flood had crippled the life of over 60 lakh people across the State and that almost in 90 per cent of Chennai there was no drinking water or electricity and people were starving.
He claimed that though relief materials were pouring in from all the directions, the State government had failed to coordinate with other agencies and NGOs to distribute the materials to the affected people.