Court seeks filing of preliminary report on June 24
The Bombay High Court on Friday initiated judicial inquiry into the building collapse at Malwani in Malad, which killed 12 people, including eight children. The court ordered that a preliminary report be filed on June 24.
On June 9, four adults and eight children were killed while seven others were injured after two floors of a four-storey residential building collapsed.
A Division Bench of Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and Justice G.S. Kulkarni said the incident proved that there existed absolute lawlessness in the municipal wards in Mumbai as well as its adjoining areas. The Bench said it was immensely pained by the incident, in which eight innocent children lost their lives.
The court took note of four incidents of building collapse from May 15 to June 10 this year, which resulted in the death of 24 people. The court said, “What is happening? How many lives will be lost? What type of buildings are these? Were they identified as dangerous or illegal, but not demolished, or were they not identified? You [the municipal corporation] can’t play with the lives of people. We have to hold those in charge of the ward concerned responsible. Eight innocent children died on the first day of the rains.”
The court said, “This is nothing but lawlessness. You can realise the pain we are facing due to the death of people, including [of] innocent children. This pain should also be felt by the corporators. We are shocked. This is a man-made disaster and nothing else. Every monsoon it has to happen. Why can’t it be prevented?”
The court also told the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) to ask Mayor Kishori Pednekar whether she had said that the civic body was not able to demolish buildings because of HC orders.
The court said, “We are not going to tolerate politics over building collapses. We have said that if a building is dangerous or dilapidated, then the concerned authority should approach the court for demolition. We are surprised that despite giving liberty to the corporations to approach the courts, the corporations are shifting the blame on us. You do not take action against the buildings on time, and then the blame is shifted on us.”
The court told the BMC counsel, “Please find out what was the context of her [the Mayor’s] statement. Is there a video recording? Inspect the recording. If she feels her statement has been distorted, let her say it on an affidavit, [and] if not then explain her statement.”
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