Delhi High Court asks Centre to treat as representation plea for disaster management agency in NCR

 The Delhi High Court Friday asked the Centre to treat as representation a plea seeking creation of a nodal agency to carry out disaster management tasks in the national capital region (NCR) so that there is uniformity in the response to any calamity, like the COVID-19 outbreak or an earthquake.

A bench of Chief Justice D N Patel and Justice Prateek Jalan declined to entertain the petition, saying it was a policy decision and the petitioner ought to have first made a representation to the central government.

The court directed the Centre to treat the plea, by law student Arjun Narang, as a representation and to consider the suggestions given by him in accordance with the law, rules, regulations and government policy applicable to the facts of the case.

The bench asked the Centre to take a decision on the representation as early as possible and practicable and disposed of the plea filed through advocate Shantanu Singh.

The petition had contended that Delhi-NCR has been battling with executive problem on account of numerous discrepancies between the guidelines issued by the NCR governments — of Delhi, Haryana, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh — in relation to the response mechanisms to the outbreak.

The plea had said the discrepancies were mostly in relation to inter-state travel, patient admissions and treatment, testing, dealing with containment zones and dealing with COVID positive persons.

“In order to bring about uniformity in the COVID-response, it is imperative that the respondents (Centre and governments of Delhi, UP, Haryana and Rajasthan) designate the National Capital Region Planning Board (NCRPB) or any authority, consisting of executive members from all the concerned states and union territory, as the single nodal agency, to carry out disaster management tasks in the NCR region in a uniform manner,” the petition had said.

The plea had also sought implementation of the Regional Plan 2021, “specifically the measures in relation to medical infrastructure and disaster management”.

Besides that, it had also sought directions to the Centre, state governments and district level authorities of NCR “to work in tandem and provide a single set of parameters, directions or guidelines under a common COVID-19 response plan for the entire national capital region”.

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