HC Advocates Association To Be Included In Distribution Of Flood Relief Materials Imported By It : Kerala HC [Read Order] 

HC Advocates Association To Be Included In Distribution Of Flood Relief Materials Imported By It : Kerala HC [Read Order] 

The High Court of Kerala has held that the District Collectors should involve the Kerala High Court Advocates Associations(KHCAA) while distributing the flood relief materials imported by the Association.  The wishes of the Association should be given due weightage while distributing flood relief materials imported by it, observed the Court.

The order was passed by the Division Bench of Chief Justice Hrishikesh Roy and Justice A K Jayasankaran Nambiar on considering a petition filed by the Association stating that the materials imported by it for flood relief were distributed by District Collector without taking into account the preferences of the Association.  The petition by Association sought directions to supply the imported consignment at the premises of High Court for segregation and distribution of materials to deserving persons.

On August 30, 2018, the Division Bench had issued guidelines for availing customs exemption for goods imported for flood relief. The Court held that imported goods will be distributed through the State machinery, to prevent misuse of customs exemption through diversion of flood relief materials. However, the Court also had added that the District Collectors should enable participation of the importer agency in distribution of relief materials imported by it, and should give weightage to its choice of destination.

The KHCAA's grievance was that a consignment imported by it for distribution in flood affected areas were distributed by the District Collector, Ernakulam without taking into account the choice destinations of Association. Ignoring the request of the Association, the Collector distributed the materials without involving the Association.

The Government Pleader submitted that by the time the request of Association reached the Collector, the distribution of materials had already been carried out.

In view of the factual situation, the Division Bench directed the Government Pleader to "ensure necessary instructions are issued to the District Collectors of various flood affected districts in the State that in respect of future consignments imported by the Association, the wishes of the Association with regard to the manner of distribution of the relief materials shall be given due weightage". The Court also affirmed that there was no room for any apprehension of diversion of materials by the Association for purposes unconnected with flood relief, as its activities are monitored by a retired High Court judge, Advocate General and the Additional Advocate General.

The Government Pleader has been directed to submit before the Court on October 10 a copy of instructions issued to District Collectors.

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