CENTRE FOR PUBLIC INTEREST LITIGATION Vs. UNION OF INDIA
LAWS(SC)-2020-8-19
SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
Decided on August 18,2020

CENTRE FOR PUBLIC INTEREST LITIGATION Appellant
VERSUS
UNION OF INDIA Respondents







JUDGEMENT

ASHOK BHUSHAN, J. - (1.)From the beginning of this year, 2020, the world including our country is in the grip of a pandemic known as Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19). On 31.12.2019, a cluster of cases of pneumonia of unknown cause in the city of Wuhan, Hubei Province in China was reported to the World Health Organisation (WHO). This was subsequently identified as a new virus in January, 2020 and over the following months, the number of cases continued to rise but were not contained to China and showed exponential growth worldwide. Due to the global rise in cases, this was declared a pandemic on 11.03.2020 by the WHO. The number of affected persons is increasing worldwide. Although, substantial population is also recovering from it but India witnessed exponential growth in number of cases in the last month.
(2.)The world is familiar with several kinds of disasters from time immemorial. Every country has faced one or other disaster in recent memory. Disasters disturb lives, societies and livelihood around the world. The impact of disaster is to strike hard earned economy, development and material gains. Many of the destructive hazards are natural in origin and some man made also. The whole world having faced adverse effect of different kinds of disasters is now well aware of its ill effect and steps internationally as well as nationally are being taken for last several decades to combat different kinds of disasters. U.N. General Assembly recognizing the importance of reducing the impact of natural disaster for all people including developing countries designated 1990 as the international decade of natural disaster reduction. The International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (UNISDR) was established following IDNDR of the 1990s. The UN/GA convened the second World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) in Kobe, Hyogo, Japan 2005, which concluded the review of the Yokohama Strategy and its Plan of Action and the adoption of the Hyogo Framework for Action 2005-2015: Building the Resilience of Nations and Communities to Disasters (HFA) (UNISDR 2005) by 168 countries. The HFA outlined five priorities for action:
"(1) Ensure that DRR is a national and a local priority with a strong institutional basis for implementation;

(2) Identify, assess, and monitor disaster risks and enhance early warning;

(3) Use knowledge, innovation, and education to build a culture of safety and resilience at all levels;

(4) Reduce the underlying risk factors;

(5) Strengthen disaster preparedness for effective response at all levels."

(3.)On 23.12.2005, both the Houses of Indian Parliament passed a Disaster Management Bill. The Introduction and the Statement of Objects and Reasons of the Bill mentions: -
"INTRODUCTION

For prevention and mitigation effects of disasters and for undertaking a holistic, coordinated and prompt response to any disaster situation it has been decided by the Government to enact a law on disaster management to provide for requisite institutional mechanisms for drawing up and monitoring the implementation of the disaster management plans, ensuring measures by various wings of Government. To achieve this objective the Disaster Management Bill was introduced in the Parliament.

STATEMENT OF OBJECTS AND REASONS

The Government have decided to enact a law on disaster management to provide for requisite institutional mechanisms for drawing up and monitoring the implementation of the disaster management plans, ensuring measures by various wings of Government for prevention and mitigating effects of disasters and for undertaking a holistic, coordinated and prompt response to any disaster situation."

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