Mumbai: Mumbai: The Bombay High Court has ordered a judicial inquiry into the incident of building collapse that caused the death of 12 people in Mumbai's Malad on Wednesday, terming it as a man-made disaster.
The Court appointed former HC judge Justice (Retd) J P Deodhar as Commissioner of Inquiry and directed him to submit a preliminary report before June 23.
Eleven people, including eight children, had died in the incident and seven more were injured in the collapse of the residential building.
A division bench comprising Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and Justice Girish Kulkarni which was taking the suo moto cognizance of the incident on Friday rebuked the BrihanMumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), observing that the lives of citizens are not cheap that they can be left to die in such incidents.
The bench expressed its pain as 12 people died in the Malad building collapse matter and said that the court is deeply pained by all these deaths and especially 8 children losing their lives in the collapse.
The court also warned all corporations that it would come down heavily on them if any more lives are lost in future.
The court also noted that between May 15 and June 10, at least four incidents of building collapses have been reported from Ulhasnagar, Bandra and Malad and bashed officials asking how many more lives are at stake and rebuked them on why such incidents cannot be prevented.
When BMC counsel Anil Sakhare argued that the land in Malvani, Malad west where the tragedy occurred, belongs to the Collector, the Chief Justice asked if a government directive can override a constitutional mandate since it obliges the BMC to work against illegal constructions.
The court further inquired why the civic officers failed to take action and asked if were they waiting for deaths while warning that the officers would be held responsible for deaths.
It pointed out that while the BMC has performed against the Covid-19 pandemic, why are such effective steps not being taken against illegal constructions and why the elected corporators don't point out such activities.
Adjourning the matter, the judges made it clear they would not hesitate to order a special enquiry into the "mechanism" whereby unauthorised constructions crop up with the corporators and civic officials failing to take any action, even as Additional Solicitor General Anil Singh pointed out that 75 per cent of the constructions in Malvani are illegal.