The Supreme Court Friday appealed for a “national response” to the disaster caused by the recent floods in J&K and urged the Centre and the state government to ensure adequate steps are timely taken for relief and rehabilitation of those affected.
“It needs no emphasis from us that a calamity and disaster as huge as this deserves national response so that immediate relief is made available to the victims of floods. It goes without saying that supply of food, drinking water, medicines, fuel and other essential supplies deserve top-most priority, as also the restoration of communication and provision for health-care facilities,” said a bench led by Chief Justice of India R M Lodha.
“After all, lives of people who are affected by such disaster have to be saved,” the bench, also comprising Justices Kurian Joseph and Rohinton F Nariman, said while asking the Centre to apprise it on Monday about the urgent steps undertaken to accelerate rescue, relief and rehabilitation operations.
The court, which noted that “massive floods in the Kashmir valley have created horror” affecting more than 400 villages and stranding five lakh people, also asked the Centre to consider forming a unified agency for proper co-ordination of work.
It took on record the statement by Attorney General that “Union of India is conscious of the seriousness of the situation and a committee headed by the Prime Minister is overseeing and coordinating the rescue and relief operations” and “rescue operations by the Armed Forces are working in full swing and the Chief of the Army Staff himself is monitoring these operations”.
Calls for help to make HC functional soon
The Supreme Court described the J&K High Court as the “face of the judiciary and constitutional machinery” in the state and sought the Centre’s assistance in making it functional as soon as possible. Informed about the HC complex totally submerged in water, the court said the central and state governments must provide best available resources and some alternative accommodation where even a single judge in a one-room or two-room establishment can start holding court.