HC refuses to order Maha govt to provide compensation to victims

Mumbai: Observing that flooding is inevitable when rainfall is intense, the Bombay High Court refused to issue any directions to the Maharashtra government to provide compensation to farmers, whose standing crops were damaged in the recent floods at Sangli and Kolhapur districts. The HC also refused to pass any order asking the Maharashtra and Karnataka governments to discuss the issue pertaining to releasing the waters of the Krishna river.

A bench of Chief Justice Pradeep Nandrajog and Justice Bharati Dangre blamed the changes in the global weather patterns for the incessant rains and the resultant floods. The bench accordingly refused to issue any directives as urged by the petitioner Raosaheb Alase, saying the same are not ‘judicially manageable.’

In his public interest litigation, Alase had sought monetary compensation for farmers whose standing crops were damaged. He further sought a direction to the government to provide compensation for the loss of livestock and also the damage to their houses.

Having perused the petition, CJ Nandrajog noted, “Due to heavy rains, flooding took place in the districts of Sangli and Kolhapur. Now, nobody can prevent rain from falling. When rainfall is intense, flooding is the inevitable result. However, the authorities concerned have to take stock of the situation.”

“Regretfully, global weather patterns have changed. Rainfall is not evenly spread. During the monsoon, intense showers are encountered and the rainfall is extremely heavy on few days,” the judges said further.

During the hearing, the bench further noted that the issues raised by Alase in his petition, are largely ‘policy’ matters.

“The issues concerning compensation for loss of standing crops, livestock and damage to buildings have been raised and we note that the government assesses the loss as per policy guidelines and distributes the same to the ones who are adversely affected due to incessant rainfall,” CJ Nandrajog said in his order.

“As far as the issue concerning coordination between the governments of Karnataka and Maharashtra for prudent management of the waters of the river Krishna, these issues do not have judicially manageable standards,” CJ Nandrajog ruled.

The bench, however said, the issues raised by Alase are important and need to be attended. “However, the issues raised need to be brought to the notice of the authorities concerned and thus we dispose of this petition directing the authorities to treat this plea as a representation,” CJ Nandrajog said.

“With the hope that a meaningful dialogue would be undertaken by the respondent authorities to find a solution to, if not solve the problem of the flooding due to incessant rain, mitigation of the problem, we dispose of the petition,” CJ Nandrajog added.