Kerala High Court: Expressing that, as much as this Court does not desire to control the management of the drains or the flood mitigating systems of the city on regular basis, it is forced to do so because of the large-scale inundation witnessed, Devan Ramachandran, J., held that it is necessary that citizens understand their duty to ensure that canals are fenced and maintained well and kept free of debris, which otherwise would challenge the lives of many other affected by the flooding.
It was stated that on account of the various orders passed by this Court, various steps were taken to mitigate the situation, which bore fruit in the years 2020 and 2021, when the city was spared large-scale flooding.
Court further added that, flood mitigation steps under the name ‘Operation Breakthrough’ completed two of its phases and this Court was under the impression that the systems would operate efficiently in future as well, but the third phase could not be completed due to various circumstances and reasons.
The Bench noted that the State received heavy rainfall in the last one or two days and the situation turned out to be distressing as, many areas and roads went underwater.
High Court asserted that the present case was listed on an emergent basis, and it will require further inputs, as also the assistance of the Amicus Curiae – Sunil Jacob Jose.
The matter was adjourned to be called on 23-5-2022, within which time, the Court directed the Corporation and the head of the ‘Operation Breakthrough’ team to file reports along with statements, enumerating the steps taken and to be taken with respect to the situation that Court witnessed.
Court added that the reports shall be comprehensive, so that this Court can issue effective orders to ensure that such events are, averted during the monsoon season, which is at doorstep already.
Cleaning of Canals
With regard to the cleaning of canals and prevention of dumping waste and plastic into it was concerned, the Secretary of Corporation was put on notice that every necessary and effective measure shall be initiated and ensured on a war footing.
“Persons who violate the directions of the Corporation, as mandated by law, against the deposit of garbage into the canals, shall be taken to task under the fullest warrant of law, to make it deterrent against others who may be under the wrong impression that such activities will still be tolerated.”
The Court further elaborated by stating that, it is necessary to remind that steps like fencing the canals would be of no effect unless the citizens understand that it is their duty to ensure that such facilities are maintained well and kept free of debris.
Therefore, it will be in the interest of all stakeholders that the Corporation gives necessary advertisements and publicity through all methods available so that citizens would be able to live without fear.[Treasa K.J. v. State of Kerala, WP(C) 23911 of 2018, decided on 19-5-2022]