WB Chief Secretary Issue – UPSC GS2

  • Incident can be used in answers related to Centre-State relationship, Civil Servants conduct.
  • Prelims Qs on DM Act
  • Hours before retiring, former Chief Secretary of West Bengal Alapan Bandyopadhyay was served a show-cause notice by the Union Home Ministry under Section 51 of the Disaster Management (DM) Act, 2005, punishable by imprisonment of up to two years or a fine or both.
Disaster Management Act 2005:
  • The DM Act, 2005, came into existence after the tsunami of 2004.
  • It was invoked for the first time in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
    • In March 2020, the Centre, through the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) headed by the Prime Minister, invoked the provisions of the Act to streamline the management of the pandemic, empowering district magistrates to take decisions and centralise other decisions on the supply of oxygen and movement of vehicles.
    • The Act has been extended across the country till June 30, 2021.
    • It is enforced by the Home Ministry.
  • Section 51 of the DM Act, 2005 pertains to punishment for obstruction for refusal to comply with a direction given by the Central government.
  • It prescribes punishment for obstruction for refusal to comply with any direction given by or on behalf of the Central Government or the State government or the National Executive Committee or the State Executive Committee or the District Authority under the Act.
  • However, the section has two important caveats. Under the Act, in order to be punishable, the action on the part of the person has to be:
    • ‘without reasonable cause’
    • ‘failure of an officer to perform the duty without due permission or lawful excuse’.

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