The Bombay High Court on Friday has ordered a judicial inquiry in the matter of the Malad building collapse that claimed the lives of 12 people. Taking suo motu cognizance of the Malad Building collapse, the Bombay High Court on Friday said politics on the matter is not fair and courts cannot be blamed for this.
“It seems that despite this Court taking suo-motu cognizance of an incident of building collapse in Bhiwandi on September 21, 2020, which took as many as 38 lives, to initiate this Public Interest Litigation for ensuring the protection of lives of citizens and having passed several orders seeking to activate the respondents to come down heavily on illegal and unauthorized buildings/structures,” the court said.
The high court said it categorically said in its order in April to continue with the evacuation drive of dilapidated buildings.
This Court is pained to observe that officials employed with the respondents have exhibited extreme lack of solicitude for the rule of law and failed to discharge their statutory duties effectively, which could have prevented the recent building collapses as well as saved the lives of the inhabitants thereof,” it stated.
The court appoints Justice JP Deodhar (Retd) of Bombay HC as commissioner of inquiry for Malad building collapse.
Bombay High Court’s observation came after Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) officials on Thursday had said the evacuation of dilapidated buildings could not be done due to the COVID pandemic and the court’s restrictions on that.
The High Court said that in April 2021, it made clear that action (demolition or vacating the structure) regarding dilapidated structures can be taken. So the corporation or any other government body cannot put the blame for not being able to take the action on the court.
Notably, the Bombay High Court last year put a temporary stop on demolitions because of the lockdown. However, the order as per the court was lifted by April 2021. HC said it was surprising that despite being order in place, the government body is putting the blame on the court.
The Court also said that most of these buildings were in dilapidated condition before the court orders. At least 12 people, including eight minors, lost their lives after a residential building in Mumbai’s Malad area on Thursday morning.
As many as 18 people were rescued safely, while several were injured in the incident.
As per the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), the collapse engulfed a nearby residential structure. It also affected another residential structure in the area that is now in a “dangerous condition”. The building, which is in dangerous condition has been evacuated.
Meanwhile, Mumbai Police arrested Contractor Ramzan Sheikh who had built the house in Malvani that had collapsed. Cases have been registered against the contractor and the owner of the property Rafeeq Siddiqui.
(With ANI inputs)