The Kerala High Court has issued a directive for immediate measures to save the city of Kochi from severe flooding in the monsoons.

The directions came in light following heavy rains that recently exposed many weaknesses in the city's drainage system. The order was in response to a writ petition filed by the petitioners praying before the Court to mandate the removal of solid waste and aquatic plants from the Perandoor Canal to ensure the free flow of water.

A Single Bench of Justice Devan Ramachandran observed, “Monsoons are expected in a few days, but as we have seen in the last couple of years, it is certainly possible to save the city from severe flooding. This requires the drains to be kept clean to the extent possible. The cooperation of the citizens is also sine qua non, as also that of all institutions and entities, particularly those who install boards, flags etc. for self-promotion and such other. This is because, all these finally end up in the public disposal system, thus overwhelming it; and this causes a public nuisance, which is not confined to one person or one section, but to the whole community.

Advocate K.P. Pradeep represented the petitioners, while Sr. GP S. Kannan appeared for the respondents.

The petition was part of a broader set of cases addressing drainage issues in Kochi. During the proceedings, the Court noted that despite previous interventions, parts of Kochi were inundated after recent rains. Although water receded in most areas once the rain stopped, some locations remained flooded, identified as 15 hotspots requiring urgent attention.

The bench observed the recurring need for intervention, pointing out that systemic changes were necessary to prevent annual flooding. “I do not know why this is too much to ask, particularly for a city which is rapidly moving forward,” the Court questioned.

The Court identified specific problem areas where water did not flow and required motors to pump from drain. The Bench noted, “This evidently exposes the defects in the drainage mapping, and though this Court has been attempting to rectify this in the last couple of years, not much change has happened. Thus, the city faces inundation every time heavy rains hit it.

Acknowledging the efforts of the District Collector, the Secretary of the Corporation, and the amici curiae, who were on-site during the recent flooding, the Bench reiterated the need for efficient systemic functioning without “requiring intervention every time.

It is unfortunate that this Court has to intervene every year because every time this matter is taken, it is done at the hope that a systemic change will happen,” the Court remarked.

The High Powered Committee, constituted by the Court, was tasked with ensuring the cleaning of drains using the sucker machine and removing debris from identified hotspots.

Accordingly, the High Court listed the matter for further hearing on May 27th, 2024.

Cause Title: Treasa K.J. & Anr. v. State of Kerala & Ors.


Petitioners: Advocates K.P.Pradeep, T.T.Biju, K.P.Kesavan Nair, Neena Arimboor, Sanand Ramakrishnan, and T.Thasmi

Respondents: DSG T.C. Krishna; Sr. GP S. Kannan; SC K. Janardhana Shenoy; Advocate Rashmi. K.V., Deepti Chandra Mouli, M.Gopikrishnan Nambiar, K.John Mathai, Kuryan Thomas, and Paulose C.Abraham

Click here to read/download the Order