SC Takes Tough Stance: No Forest Officials for Election Duty Amid Uttarakhand Fires

Supreme Court Rejects PIL Challenging Three New Criminal Laws

The Supreme Court’s stern actions and pointed questions regarding Uttarakhand’s handling of forest fires have sparked a crucial dialogue between the judiciary and the state government. As the court presses for accountability and effective solutions, Uttarakhand officials emphasize the need for collaborative efforts with the Centre to address the ongoing crisis.

Court’s Ruling

In a stern action, the Supreme Court has called upon the Uttarakhand Chief Secretary to present before it on May 17, expressing dissatisfaction with the state government’s inadequate handling of the persistent forest fires. The Supreme Court has additionally asked for clarification on why central funds were not utilized for extinguishing fires, noting that out of the over ₹9 crore allocated by the Centre last year, only ₹3.14 crore was utilized for forest fire prevention.

The court questioned the government as to why the forest fire personnel were deployed on poll duty. The bench, led by Justice BR Gavai and including Justices SVN Bhatti and Sandeep Mehta, observed that despite the preparation of multiple action plans, no tangible steps have been taken for their implementation.

Government’s Response

In response to the Supreme Court’s queries, a state official stated that forest fire personnel involved in poll duty have concluded their assignments, with no further deployment for election-related tasks. The Uttarakhand government also clarified that it has not received funds from the Centre. Additionally, they highlighted that over 9,000 individuals are actively engaged in firefighting efforts, and 420 cases related to forest fires have been registered. The government emphasized that collaborative efforts between the Centre and the State are crucial for resolving this issue effectively.

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About the Author: Hemansh Tandon