1. The petitioner, hardly two scores and tour, being public spirited, knocked at the doors of this Court as pro bono publico, being moved by the catastrophe and cataclysm of the earthquake that shook the city of Jabalpur and its nearby places in the later part of the last millennium and sought for issuance of certain directions so that natural calamity does not sweep away the man built civilisation and cause insurmountable disaster. The specific reliefs, which have been sought, shall be adverted to at the appropriate stage.
2. The facts as have been uncurtained are that on 22-5-1997 the city of Jabalpur and its surrounding areas were rocked by an earthquake. The earthquake occurring on that day was recorded as one of the major earthquakes caused in India measuring 6.0 Richter Scale. Hardly before the nightmarish and terrifying effect of the earthquake had vanished from the mind of the people, on 17-10-2000 an earthquake of mild intensity again rocked the similar area and the Richter Scale measured it at 5.2. On 23-01-2001 a further tremor created a sense of corroding fear in the minds of the people and it was measured as 3.7 on the Richter Scale. The paper cuttings indicating occurrence of the said earthquake have been brought on record as Annexure P-2 and Annexure P-4.
3. According to the writ petitioners, the experts and scientists of the country have already declared Jabalpur city in the seismic zone where danger of massive quakes looms large. A reference has been made to the devastating disaster that has totally shaken the State of Gujarat in many a sphere. It has been pleaded that records clearly indicate that at Gujarat there were minor earthquakes earlier and this is indication of there being possibility of disastrous earthquake occurring in future in and around Jabalpur and the said possibility cannot be totally ignored or marginalised. It is putforth in the petition that lesson should be learnt from the Gujarat calamity which has caused enormous loss of life and colossal loss of property. On the face of the natural cataclysm the role of man has become quite insignificant and this failure has occurred due to lack of timely aid and expertise to handle the situation after the earthquake occurs. It is setforth in the petition that trained Sniffer dogs from Switzerland proved useful in Gujarat in locating living people under the debris and, therefore, arrangements are to be made to face such situation in future so that, a stitch in time can minimize the loss of life and property from the catastrophe by adopting a foresighted policy of crisis management. Blame has been put on the administration which had not taken care like grant of sanction of building plan which has led to collapsing of newly constructed buildings like a pack of cards. It is putforth that a chain of earthquakes that occurred, the tectonic movements and soil types can be of some assistance to predict few earthquakes and also to meet the challenge as far as Jabalpur is concerned, as it is in the quake-prone zone. It has been staled in the petition that neither the Central Administration nor the State Administration has taken any positive steps to predict and manage impending disaster and, therefore, the petitioner has been constrained to file the present public interest litigation to save the lives of the people. With these averments prayer has been made to command the Government to establish a permanent crisis Management Cell to deal effectively with future calamities; to submit blueprint for the same within a reasonable period of time; as a precautionary measure to construct canals from the Bargi Dam to lessen the water pressure; not to allow further urban construction without the earthquake resistant technology; to conduct systematic survey of the buildings damaged in the previous earthquakes and to carry out the repairs and to issue direction for demolition of buildings which are not repairable.
4. A return has been filed by the respondent Nos. 2 and 3, the State of M.P. and the Collector Jabalpur respectively pleading, inter alia, that the suggestions which have been made in the petition have already been implemented and adequate steps have been taken to meet any natural calamities like earthquake in case same rocks the area in question. It is putforth that calamities like earthquakes cannot be avoided by human beings nor any authentic predication of the same can be given but only thing that can be done is to take adequate steps to reduce the effect of such natural calamities on life and property. It is the bounden duty of the Government to carry out relief and rescue operations during such natural calamities. The operation requires coordination between various departments/wings of the Government and keeping in view the said aspect of the matter the Central Government has constituted a high power disaster management group under the Chairmanship of Shri J.C. Pant. It has been pleaded that the said group has been entrusted with the task to coordinate between various State Governments and its functionaries during such relief and rescue operation. The Central Government has also nominated a senior officer, Shri T.N. Shrivastava for acting as a Coordinator. According to the said respondents an autonomous body in the name of Disaster Management Institute (DMI) has been established by the Government of M.P. at Bhopal. It is the responsibility of the said institute to prepare projects and plans for minimizing the effect of natural disasters like earthquakes and floods and to suggest the means and measures for providing relief to persons affected by such calamities. The DMI is also gradually training district level functionaries to deal with disaster effectively. By order dated 11-2-2000 the Government of Madhya Pradesh has also constituted separate subgroups for preparation of state level disaster management plans for com-batting natural calamities. All these subgroups are headed by Additional Chief Secretary, Government of M.P. looking to the importance and crucial nature of the matter. The subgroups constituted by the State Government are holding periodical meetings in connection with preparation of detailed disaster management plans. Deliberation done by the said groups have been brought on record as Annexures R-2 and R-3. The reason that Jabalpur faced a massive earthquake on 22-5-1997 is due to the dam which has been constructed at a distance of 45 kms. has no scientific foundation. However, as two further earthquakes occurred one in October, 2000 and the another in January, 2002, the local administration has become conscious of such development and accordingly, serious efforts have been made to combat any eventuality. A detailed plan has been prepared under the guidance of Divisional Commissioner, Jabalpur and the Collector. The said plan has four components, namely, mitigation, preparedness, response and recovery. A detailed procedure has been prescribed in the said working plan under each component. A copy of complete plan has been brought on record as Annexure R-4. As per the provision contained in the said working plan a District Disaster Management Committee under the Chairmanship of the Minister Incharge of the district has been proposed. The said Committee shall consist of officers of local bodies such as District Panchayat, Municipal Corporation, Municipalities and public representatives like M.L.As. and M.Ps. All concerned departments of the Central Government as also the State Government will nominate their officers as members of the District Disaster Management Committee.
5. It has been averred in the counter affidavit that in addition to the aforesaid Committee separate working groups have also been constituted. As many as 11 important works in disaster management have been identified and separate groups have been constituted for each of the said work. Certain instances have been given like technical working group. It has been highlighted in the return that all means and measures which are required for carrying out relief and rescue operation have also been identified and enlisted. Government hospitals have been prepared. Hospitals owned by private individuals, local bodies like Corporations etc. have also been equipped to meet with such a situation. The availability of blood, Oxygen, medicine and drugs have also been taken care of. The details of vehicles along with the particulars of their drivers have also been prepared. The respondents have also collected and compiled other information such as availability of private vehicles like cranes etc. It is also the case of the respondents that out of the Work groups relating to police, rescue and search, Medical services and First Aid, Technical, Relief Camp and Shelter, Public Relations, Transport, Power Supply and Public Awareness have already started discharging their duties. Massive awareness programmes have been launched. Certain persons are being trained as volunteers in rescue and relief operation. The details of the programmes carried out by the answering respondents have been brought on record by way of a chart, vide Annexure R-7. It is pleaded by the said respondents that the State Government has also taken steps for ensuring quality of construction which would meet the international standards. The provisions contained in the M.P. Bhumi Vikas Niyam, 1984 have been amended on 3-2-2001 in which specific provisions have been incorporated relating to construction of buildings and further it has been made obligatory that any construction henceforth made should be in consonance with the standards prescribed by the Bureau of Indian Standards. It is putforth that approximately 81 Kms. of canals have already been constructed and the work on the remaining canal is in progress. Respondents have also brought on record that seismology and earthquake studies is a very vast and specialized subject and the Director of Geological Survey of India has made a detailed study in the field of earthquakes and tectonics and based upon his research it has been found out that the earthquake that had struck Jabalpur was not due to reservoir which is situated 45 Kms. away. It is putforth that the cause has been attributed to the reaction of the Son Narmada Souty Fault, which passes from the south of the city. A communication in that regard has been brought on record.
6. A reply has been filed by the Municipal Corporation, Jabalpur, the respondent No. 4, contending, inter alia, that the answering respondent is fully conscious of the natural calamity that had occurred in the year 1997 and accordingly it has taken effective steps for prevention and mitigating the sufferings of the people in future. It is putforth that the Corporation has taken effective steps to ensure that henceforth all constructions made within its territorial jurisdiction would confirm to prescribed Indian standards and earthquake resistants. A specimen copy of the conditions prescribed by the Municipal Corporation, Jabalpur has been brought on record as Annexure R-4-1. It is pleaded that the application for grant of building sanction is required to be supported by a certificate of a licenced Architect/Structural Engineer to the effect that he was supervising the construction work. Before commencing of the construction work every person is required to intimate the Corporation that he is commencing the construction work under the supervision of licenced Architect/Structural Engineer. The construction would be inspected by the Engineers of the Corporation from time to time. Upon completion of the work the person is required to obtain permission to occupy the building. An inspection would be carried out to find out that the construction work has been done strictly in accordance with the sanctioned plan and the same is safe for human habitation. As far as demolition of the buildings which are in danger and in dilapidated condition are concerned a detailed survey of the construction work within the territorial limit of the Municipal Corporation has been done in January, 2001 wherein it has been found that 960 houses are in such condition which need repair/alteration. The Corporation has contemplated to issue notices under Section 309 of the Municipal Corporation Act, 1956.
7. A rejoinder affidavit has been filed by the petitioner to the return filed by the respondent Nos. 2 to 4. It is putforth therein that the constitution of a Committee does not mean that a step has been taken towards solution of the problem. The Disaster Management Institute which has been established by the Government of Madhya Pradesh at Bhopal is of no assistance. As far as Jabalpur city is concerned nothing has been brought on record to show how the said Commiltec would deal with the aspect of disaster. It is also urged that no reason has been ascribed that why the said Committee has not been set up at Jabalpur looking to the present setting of the earthquake. The petitioner has also commented with regard to the formation of separate sub-groups for preparation of State Level Disaster Management Plan for combatting natural calamities. The petitioner has also stated that nothing has emerged from the meeting held by the Geological Calamity Survey Committee but only shortcomings have been brought forth. It is setforth that no material has been brought on record to show how the steps which are effective have been taken to meet the natural calamity of great magnitude. The constitution of High Power Committee for preparation of blue print for dealing with natural disaster like earthquake has also been commented upon by stating that it has not seen the light of the day. It has been reiterated in the rejoinder affidavit that construction of Bargi Dam is the cause of earthquake in Jabalpur. According to the petitioner, the Government has exhibited lackadaisical attitude in dealing with the problem inasmuch as public buildings, namely, Primary Schools, Middle Schools, High Schools, Colleges and the buildings in the University have not been scrutinized to find out whether they are able to sustain the shock. The stand that has been taken by the respondents that they would act according to the Master Plan has also been commented upon by the petitioner indicating that no Master Plan has been produced to establish how the people would be accommodated in case of occurrence of any disaster. It is putforth that thousands of students who are studying in Jabalpur are prosecuting their studies in such buildings which are not safe. The petitioner has also rebutted the stands taken by the Municipal Corporation. It is further pleaded that most of the hospitals are in unsafe condition and there has been no proper survey. It is urged in the rejoinder affidavit that after amendment of M.P. Bhumi Vikas Nigam, 1984 if any constructions has been carried out it should be surveyed by the State Forensic Laboratory and National Cement and Construction Material Council (N.C.C.B.M.) situated at Hyderabad or Delhi but the same is not followed. Appropriate steps have not been taken to arouse public awareness so that there is cooperation of the people at the time of occurrence of the catastrophe. It is putforth that no pre-disaster management has been planned and mere including of various Departments or various names would not yield fruitful results. It is setforth that there is no indication that how the disaster management would be implemented when crisis occurs. The petitioner has also putforth that there has been only show of arrangement on papers but no work has actually been done. It has also been putforth that findings of the Pre Workshop exercises and the study of scientists have not been brought on record which shows that the attempt of the State Government is half hearted. The petitioner in paragraph 22 of the rejoinder affidavit has suggested how the buildings should be constructed to comply with the Indian Standards on Earthquake Engineering.
8. A petition has been filed forming the subject matter of I.A. No. 325-W/2002 for taking certain documents on record. In the said application it is prayed to take the report of Geological Survey of India which has conducted the Geo-scientific study, on record. It is taken on record.
9. We have heard Mr. Purushaindra Kumar Kaurav in person, Mr. S.K. Yadav, learned Government Advocate for the State and Mr. S.K. Agrawal, learned Counsel for Municipal Corporation, Jabafpur, the respondent No. 4.
10. Before we advert to the reliefs sought for and the pleadings of the respective parties we think it apposite to dwell upon at the cost of some space, the traditional view relating to earthquake, the danger that it creates, the disaster that it brings and the catastrophe that can be the outcome of such a natural calamity. The human race has faced many natural calamities from the very beginning of existence of homo sapiens on the surface of the earth. The most disturbing and devastating calamity that affects the humanity at large is the earthquake as it can change the course of nature in many a manner which are sometimes inconceivable. The catastrophic and shattering effect of an earthquake has always created a sense of overwhelming puzzlement and bewilderment among wisest of scientists and sagacious and intuitive personalities of other spheres.
11. An earthquake is understood to be vibrations produced in the earth's crust which create a sudden rupture. It has a rebounding character. The vibrations sometimes may be bearly noticeable and some other time, may be dangerously destructive. Six kinds of shock waves are generated in the process. Two are categorised as body waves and they travel through earth's interior and the other four are surface waves. The waves are further classified by the kind of motions they impart to rock particles. The primary waves send particles oscillating back and forth in the same direction whereas the secondary waves impart vibrations that are perpendicular to the direction of travel. It has been found that the primary waves travel at higher velocity than the secondary waves and whenever earthquake occurs the primary waves are the first to arrive and are to be recorded at geophysical research stations. It is note worthy to mention here that from the time immemorial the human race has been contemplating to know the cause of the earthquake. The Greek philosophers attributed quakes to subterranean winds. The Chinese scholars thought that there was ripples through the earth. They constructed on elaborate bronze vessel to record the passage of such waves. Before the modern seismograph was invented by the Russian seismologist Prince Boris Golitzyn, the other geologists John Milne and Robert Mallet had also devised some methods to record earthquake waves.
12. It is apposite to mention here that there are three general classes of earthquakes which are recognised, namely, tectonic, volcanic and artificially produced. It is the tectonic variety of earthquake which is more dangerous than the others. The cause of tectonic quake is the stresses set up by movements of 13 or more major and minor plates that rock up the earth's crust. The world has been divided into various zones which are prone to tectonic earthquakes. The other kinds of earthquakes which are non-tectonic are less destructive.
13. The seismologist have devised two scales of measurement to describe the earthquakes quantitively. One is the Richter scale and the other is called Mercalli scale. The people world-wide are making endeavour to predict earthquakes, China, Japan, Russia and the United States have opened up such research centres and they have met with some success. In 1975, the Chinese predicted 7.3 richter quake at Haicheng which enabled the administration to evacuate 90,000 residents before the earthquake damaged 90% of the city buildings. Some believe that the prediction is possible if one can study foreshocks. However, it is also not disputed by some scientists that some earthquakes are unpredictable and some take a different course.
14. We have referred to the aforesaid aspects only to show that the two aspects which required to be taken care of are relatable to the realm of prediction and the permanent crisis management. We may hasten to add that the petitioner has sought many a relief and the respondents have indicated in their counter affidavits that they have made arrangements to meet the crisis when it occurs. We have also perused the reports brought on record and the documents which show that some steps have been taken up by the State Government and the Municipal Corporation. We have also scrutinised in detail the geo scientific study relating to the Jabalpur Earthquake that occurred on 22-5-1997. On a study of the same it is manifest that the epicentre of the shock lies at 23.08° N latitude and 80.06° E longitude near village Junwani, about 20 Kms. east-southeast of Jabalpur. The effects of the main event were widely felt over a radius of 500 kms., covering parts of Madhya Pradesh encompassing Jabalpur, Mandla, Seoni, Balaghat, Shahdol, Chhindwara, Narsinghpur, Sagar, Damoh, Sidhi, Satna, Panna, Rewa, Betul, Bilaspur, Rajnandgaon, Ambikapur, Raipur, Sehore and Hoshangabad districts. It was also felt in certain districts of Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh. The said study indicates the macro seismic survey, the projection of picture of the damaged pattern in meizoseismal zone, geotechnical assessment and geo tectonic setting and seismicity of the area. That part, the study has been made to show the various rock groups of central Indian shield. In the study there is delienation of seismo tectonic evaluation of Son-Narmada valley and recommendation for future study. We may state here that we are not experts in the field but as certain aspects have been highlighted before us we have referred to the same. It is submitted by Mr. Kaurava that if adequate steps are not taken by the respondents the inhabitants of Jabalpur and other earthquake prone areas of the State of Madhya Pradesh will remain in a constant state of fear. It is urged by him when a person lives in a stage of fear he basically becomes an unperson and his right to live with dignity which is a recognised facet of Article 21 of the Constitution of India is affected. Article 21 of the Constitution has travelled a considerable length and in its conceptual eventuality it has encapsulated many a spectrum of human existence.
15. In this context we may profitably refer to the decision rendered in the case of Pathumma and Ors. v. State of Kerala and Ors., AIR 1978 SC 771, wherein the Apex Court has laid down as under :--
"Courts should interpret the constitutional provisions against the social setting of the country so as to show a complete consciousness and deep awareness of the growing requirements of the society, the increasing needs of the nation, the burning problems of the day and the complex issues facing the people which the legislature in its wisdom, through beneficial legislation, seeks to solve. The judicial approach should be dynamic rather than static, pragmatic and not pedantic and elastic, rather than rigid."
16. It is apposite to state here that in the aforesaid case Their Lordships have held that personal liberty as engrafted under Article 21 of the Constitution is of wide amplitude. In the case of Satwant Singh v. A.P.O. New Delhi, AIR 1967 SC 1836 right to go abroad was included within the spectrum of the Article 21 of the Constitution. In the case of Govinda v. State of U.P., AIR 1975 SC 1378 right to privacy was taken within the sweep of the aforesaid right. In the case of Sunil Batra v. Delhi Administration, AIR 1978 SC 1675 solitary confinement was treated to be violative of the quintessence of right of life. In the case of Hoskot v. State of Maharashtra, AIR 1978 SC 1548 the right to legal aid was considered as an unsegregable facet of Article 21 of the Constitution. Right to speedy trial and right to health have also been encapsuled within the broader spectrum of the said right. Recently in the case of Hinchlal Tiwari v. Kamla Devi and Ors., (2001) 6 SCC 496 the Apex Court gave emphasis on enjoyment of a quality life the same being the essence of the right guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution. In the case of A.P. Pollution Control Board II v. Prof. M.V Nayudu, (2001) 2 SCC 62 the Apex Court ruled that right to access to clean drinking water is a fundamental right to life and the responsibility rests on the State to provide clean drinking water to its citizens. Emphasis has also been laid on the present environmental damage and to have a healthy environment. In the case of M.C. Mehta v. Union of India (Delhi Vehicular Air Pollution), AIR 2001 SC 1948 the Apex Court reiterated the principle that vehicular pollution is violative of Article 21 of the Constitution. Expanding the scope Their Lordships in the case of Murli S. Deora v. Union of India, (2001) 8 SCC 765 have expressed in categorical terms that fundamental rights guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution, inter alia, provide that none shall be deprived to his right without due process of law and there is no reason why a non-smoker should be afflicted by various diseases, because he is required to go to public places. In that backdrop the Apex Court expressed the view that smoking in public places requires to be prohibited. In the case of M.C. Mehta v. Kamalnath, AIR 2000 SC 1997 the Apex Court held that causing disturbance of ecological balance would be hazardous to life within the meaning of Article 21 of the Constitution. In the case of PUCL v. Union of India, 2000 (5) SCALE the Supreme Court has held that the people who are starving because of their inability to purchase foodgrains have right to get food under Article 21 and, therefore, they ought to be provided the same free of cost by the States. Their Lordships held that under such a situation foodgrains is required to be provided to all those who arc aged, infirm, disabled, destitute men, women, pregnant and children.
17. The purpose of referring to the aforesaid decision is only to state that right to life includes not only right to livelihood and right to health but also in its connolative expanse includes various subtle rights which are germane to the human existence. Human life has to be lived with dignity. Life without dignity and self respect is essentially sans life in proper sense of life- the noblest and priceless gift of nature. Dignity does not come to a man if he is compelled to remain in a state of constant fear or any interminable apprehension of damage that looms large. It has been said by Thoreau "nothing is so much to he feared as fear." Fear is antithesis of real freedom. To put it differently it is an anathema to freedom to live with dignity. Recurring of disastrous earthquake in a city like Jabalpur creates a shrill in the spine and makes a man to wake up in the mid of night as the nightmarish effects of the first earthquake are difficult to be forgotten. We are of the considered view, that it is the obligation of the State Government to see that appropriate and effective steps are taken to protect its citizens from such a cataclysm and to make arrangements to handle the crisis when it occurs. We say so, as we have no doubt in our mind that to live without fear is also a facet, a significant facet, of Article 21 of the Constitution.
18. It is submitted by Mr. Kaurav that adequate steps have not been taken to deal with the possible future earthquakes though city of Jabalpur has been included in the seismic zone. On the contrary, the learned Counsel for the respondents have submitted that proper steps have already been taken by the constituted High Power Committee and sub-committees. As has been stated earlier a Disaster Management Institute has also been established by the State Government at Bhopal. Separate sub-groups have also been constituted. On a perusal of the pleadings and regard being had to the gravity of the situation we think it apposite to issue the following directions :--
(i) the steps which have been suggested in the Geoscientific study published by Geological Survey of India should be taken note of and efforts should be made to follow them in proper perspective;
(ii) adequate measures should be taken for recording the earthquake waves and to find out the chain of magnitude of tremors which are called foreshocks;
(iii) a qualified team at least consisting of two members should be available in the city of Jabalpur to predict, as far as practicable, with regard to the occurrence of earthquake. We may not be understood to have said that earthquake is predictable in precise terms or in exact time but with the progress of science if a qualified team is there, some measures definitely can be taken, however remote, to predict the magnitude of the catastrophe.
(iv) the said qualified team which will be at Jabalpur shall endeavour from time to time to be in touch at the International Centres situated in other countries to have knowledge about the modes of prediction of earthquakes;
(v) the aforesaid team shall also study the potential danger that is likely to be caused by the Rani Avanti Bai Sagar Dam which lies in close proximity to the epicentre;
(vi) a Sub-Committee of Disaster Management Institute of three members shall be established in the city of Jabalpur who shall function under the parent body constituted at Bhopal;
(vii) the Committee constituted by the State Government for preparation of blue print for dealing with the natural disaster like earthquakes shall finalise the blue print within a period of three months from today;
(viii) certain non-governmental organisations should be identified to participate and assist in the functioning of the sub-committee that is meant for the district disaster management;
(ix) the Municipal Corporation, Jabalpur shall not sanction any plan which is not in consonance with the parameters fixed by it and prompt steps should be taken if any unauthorised construction takes place so that unwanted buildings which are potentially dangerous do no come up and affect the human habitation;
(x) the Municipal Corporation in no case shall relax the parameters which has been mentioned by it in the earlier part of the judgment;
(xi) the State Government shall form a Committee of three members who shall in consultation with the Committee of three members to be formed by the Municipal Corporation shall identify such buildings which are dangerous and after such identification the statutory authority shall take appropriate action for effecting the safety measures and, if necessary, direct for demolition;
(xii) the construction henceforth made shall be in consonance with the standards prescribed by the Bureau of Indian Standards and no relaxation shall be given either by the State Government or by the Municipal Corporation under any circumstances;
(xiii) in case of availability of prediction of occurrence of earthquake it would be the obligation of the District Administration as well as the Sub-committees of Disaster Management Institute to apprise people as quickly as possible through electronic media and loud speaker announcements and by such other ancillary methods;
(xiv) in case of the aforesaid events taking place steps are to be taken in quite promptitude to evacuate people to safely places which shall be earmarked within a period of four months from today;
(xv) the State of Madhya Pradesh through its District Administration shall hold teaching camps at various places of the city of Jabalpur to develop a sense of awareness in people how to conduct oneself when such calamity occurs and for this purpose the respondent No. 1 shall also involve the non-governmental organisations;
(xvi) if any construction is done by any person in violation of the parameters fixed by the Municipal Corporation as well as by the State of Madhya Pradesh, the same shall be dealt with by the competent authority in quite promptitude as per law;
(xvii) a special survey shall be done in respect of all the educational institutions situated in the city of Jabalpur to find out whether they have become vulnerable and if so to take appropriate steps to make them safe or to make alternative arrangements;
(xviii) the houses which have already been identified by the Municipal Corporation as unsafe, strict steps shall be taken to see that they become safe by adopting certain measures or to declare them dangerous for habitation and to take such steps in accordance with law; and (xix) if the State Government would seek any assistance for finding out any information at the international level in the matter relating to prediction of earthquakes or modern and sophisticated management or post earthquake crisis, the Union of India shall fully cp-operate and render assistance expeditiously.
19. With the aforesaid directions the writ petition stands disposed of without any order as to costs.