After court order, Maharashtra to set up two disaster management authorities in Mumbai
The state government will have to constitute two separate district disaster management authorities for Mumbai city and Mumbai suburban districts, respectively, after the Bombay high court on Friday struck down a recent notification by the government constituting a common authority for both districts.
The division bench of Justice Abhay Oka and Justice Riyaz Chagla held that the notification of January 2018 contradicted section 25 of the Disaster Management Act, which clearly prescribes separate district disaster management authorities for each district.
“This is because the authority is entrusted with diverse duties,” said the bench.
The court was hearing a public interest litigation (PIL), filed by activist Sanjay Lakhe-Patil seeking proper implementation of provisions of the Disaster Management Act, 2005.
The bench rejected the state governments’ stand that it can constitute one authority for two or more districts, as it has been conferred with rule-making power.
“This stand itself is disastrous. The state government cannot invoke the limited rule-making power to amend the Central enactment," said the bench.
The court also issued a contempt notice to additional chief secretary, Medha Gadgil, under whose signature the notification was issued. Constituting one authority for two Mumbai districts was a willful breach of the earlier order and therefore it had no option but to issue contempt notice to the signatory, said the bench.
The bench later withdrew the notice after government pleader, Abhinandan Vagyani, made a statement that the government has agreed to form separate disaster management authorities for the two Mumbai districts.