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SC to hear Morbi PIL on Nov 14


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New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Tuesday agreed to hear on November 14, a PIL demanding a court-monitored judicial inquiry into the Morbi Bridge collapse tragedy in Gujarat that claimed over 140 lives.

A bench headed by Chief Justice UU Lalit said: “We will hear your (Lawyer Vishal Tiwari,) petition on November 14.”

The PIL was filed by Tiwari seeking a Supreme Court-ordered probe headed by a retired SC judge.

When Tiwari mentioned the matter for an urgent hearing, the CJI said, “You are very quick, Sir,” and added that we will hear your petition on November 14, Monday.

The public interest litigation has also sought detailed safety audit of all old public structures across country.

Tiwari filed the PIL on Monday, a day after the incident, and also demanded formation of permanent disaster probe team in the states which could promptly attend to such tragedies.

It sought direction to the Union of India (UOI) and the State Governments to form committee to survey and conduct assessment risk of old and risky monuments, bridges to ensure environmental viability and safety.

It pleaded for a direction to the State Governments to Constitute in their respective States — Construction Incident Investigation Department (CIID) — so that prompt investigation could be initiated whenever such incidents occur.

It also sought that the CIID shall also have duty to access and inquire about the quality and safety of any public construction taking place.

As per reports over 140 people have lost their lives and many are still missing after the British-era suspension bridge in Morbi town of Saurashtra region in Gujarat came crashing down on Sunday evening.

Tiwari said that such incidents depict the serious condition of responsibility lapse, negligence by the government authorities, and hence filed the PIL.

“Such incident prima facie depicts the serious condition of responsibility, lapse, negligence, failure of administration, and unfaithful duty of care towards to the public by the government authorities.The maintenance and repairing work was delegated to a private operator, who had absolutely failed in the functioning of the bridge,” Tiwari said, in his PIL.

In his PIL, he stated that from 1989 Bihar-Banmakhi Express train bogey accident tragedy that caused 500 casualties, to Morbi bridge failure, it is clear that nothing in the country’s administration has changed wherein such actions could have been avoided by showing reasonable duty of care and upfront repair and development activity.

The SC should impose absolute liability on the Central and State Government to put public interest at large and work in accordance to public welfare. Many a times, there are reports of casualties, due to overcrowding and lack of management by the administration and its municipal bodies thereby causing severe public casualties, his plea said.

He pleaded the top court to pass appropriate order and directions to the authorities concerned to put an end to such kind of failure of administration.

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