New Delhi [India], June 9 (ANI): Delhi High Court on Tuesday asked Delhi government and other civic bodies to file affidavits explaining the plan to deal with earthquakes and how it is to be implemented on an urgent basis.
A division bench of Justice Vipin Sanghi and Justice Rajnish Bhatnagar asked Delhi Chief Secretary, all commissioners of MCD, NDMC chairman, Delhi Cantonment Board and DDA's vice-chairman to file response on an application filed by advocate Arpit Bhargav.
The court also directed the respondents to make citizens aware of the precautions that have to take and the action plan of the government. The fresh application was filed on an old pending public interest litigation (PIL) pending since 2015.
The application sought directions to the respondents to act in a time-bound manner and apprise this court about the steps taken and intended to be taken in case a major earthquake strikes Delhi in the near future.
The petitioner told the court that several earthquakes had struck Delhi since April 12 and experts have the opinion that a major earthquake can hit Delhi anytime.
Bhargav said that he experts are now warning of a major earthquake in Delhi-NCR due to constant seismic activity occurring in the national capital region in such a short span of time.
In fact, various experts from IIT and government bodies have gone on record in various print media that builders and architects have created a nexus compromising on strict adherence to norms relating to earthquakes as well as need to revise building code and detailing other safety measures, he said.
Therefore, the petitioner requested the court to intervene and exercise its extraordinary jurisdiction under Article 226 of the Constitution of India in the larger public interest by issuing urgent directions in the present matter.
He also said that as such, the pandemic of "COVID-19" may not affect human lives as much as the impending danger of a major earthquake will.
"The destruction of millions of human lives in Delhi due to a major earthquake cannot be undermined since there are about 1,700 unauthorised colonies in Delhi wherein more than 50 lakh people reside. Even as per order dated August 26, 2015, passed by this court, only about 10 to 15 percent of Delhi buildings comply with the building code and regulations which are specific for the seismic zone," the petitioner said.
He said that the action plan prepared by the respondents is a long term measure which may or may not see the light of the day, however, urgent directions need to be passed in the present case in order to create awareness among the public at large about the do's and dont's in case of an earthquake, precautions to be taken before and after an earthquake, relief measures to be provided by the respondents and the preparedness of the respondents in order to deal with the disaster of such a huge scale in all respects. (ANI)