The Delhi High Court Wednesday pulled up the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) for its failure to fill vacancies in the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) and the National Institute of Disaster Management (NIDM). “Why wouldn’t you wind up the institutions if you are not willing to fill the vacant posts?” said a bench of Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice C Hari Shankar. Noting that the key positions of vice-chairperson and secretary were vacant at NDMA, the bench issued notices to both MHA and NDMA.
According to the petitioner, Advocate Gaurav Kumar Bansal, the post of vice-chairperson and secretary in the NDMA have not been filled since June 2014 and December 2015 respectively. In NIDM, the vacancies since December 2014 include that of a permanent executive director, two each for the posts of professor and associate professor, and one each for administrative officer and accounts officer, stated the plea.
The bench maintained that despite being aware that eight academic faculty members had left their jobs in NIDM, the MHA had failed to fill the vacant positions.
“This contravened the statutory provisions. In fact, there was no fresh appointment in the office since 2009,” the plea said, adding, “Twice, the recruitment process for the post of executive director was cancelled without providing any reason.”
In the absence of vice-chairman, the members of the institute were “working on their own without any direction/coordination and looking for guidance from the MHA/Prime Minister’s Office on a day-to-day basis, (which) hampered its efficiency”, the plea said.
“Because of lack of manpower, NIDM did not conduct training programme since the last two years,” said the plea, adding that the “manpower shortage” could result in deaths during disasters.
The matter has been posted for further hearing on September 23.