The Supreme Court on Tuesday referred to the "exponential" worldwide growth of COVID-19 including in India with the observation that the number of cases kept rising and they were not "contained to China". "From the beginning of this year, 2020, the world including our country is in the grip of a pandemic known as Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19). On December 31 2019, a cluster of cases of pneumonia of unknown cause in the city of Wuhan, Hubei Province in China was reported to the World Health Organisation (WHO).
"This was subsequently identified as a new virus in January, 2020 and over the following months, the number of cases continued to rise but were not contained to China and showed exponential growth worldwide," said a three-judge bench headed by Justice Ashok Bhushan. The observation was made in the judgement by the bench which refused to direct the Centre to transfer the contributions made to the PM CARES Fund for battling the COVID-19 pandemic to the National Disaster Response Fund (NDRF), saying that both are entirely different funds with different object and purpose.
The judgment also dealt with the circumstances and the international conventions after which the Disaster Management Act came to being in 2005. "Disasters disturb lives, societies and livelihood around the world. The impact of disaster is to strike hard earned economy, development and material gains. Many of the destructive hazards are natural in origin and some man made also.
"The whole world having faced adverse effect of different kinds of disasters is now well aware of its ill effect and steps internationally as well as nationally are being taken for last several decades to combat different kinds of disasters," the verdict said. The UN General Assembly recognizing the importance of reducing the impact of natural disaster for all people including developing countries designated 1990 as the international decade of natural disaster reduction and held conventions on the issue, it said.
The apex court said in December, 2005, both the Houses of Parliament passed a Disaster Management law " to provide for the effective management of disasters and matters connected therewith or incidental thereto" keeping in mind the international conventions. PTI SJK PKS RKS