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Human life does not seem to have great value: SC on Bawana, Mumbai fires

Seventeen people had died in a fire on Saturday, which broke out at an illegal firecracker packaging unit in Bawana. On December 28, a blaze at a rooftop pub in Mumbai had claimed 14 lives

By: Express News Service | New Delhi | Updated: January 23, 2018 7:43 am
bawana factory fire, Mumbai fires, delhi, delhi fire, bawana fire, delhi factory fire, bawana industrial area, bawana factory owner, supreme court, sc, india news, indian express, indian express news Bawana factory fire: Mourning the dead at Metro Vihar, where most of the victims lived (Express Photo by Abhinav Saha)

The Bawana and Mumbai fire tragedies found an echo in the Supreme Court on Monday, with a two-judge bench slamming civic authorities and stating that “human life does not seem to have great value”. “There are people in Delhi who are violating laws with impunity. Look at Bawana… So human life does not seem to have great value… And Mumbai also…”, a bench of Justice Madan B Lokur and Justice Deepak Gupta said. The court was hearing a plea on sealing of commercial premises on the orders of the Monitoring Committee appointed by it. The committee has been at the forefront of the recent sealing drives in south Delhi.

Seventeen people had died in a fire on Saturday, which broke out at an illegal firecracker packaging unit in Bawana. On December 28, a blaze at a rooftop pub in Mumbai had claimed 14 lives. The bench also pulled up the civic bodies in the capital, and asked the counsel: “Laws are being violated in South Delhi. What are you doing?” The counsel replied that “there is nothing illegal”.

This prompted the bench to ask: “So you mean all is legal?” The counsel replied: “We are taking action.” But the court continued to quiz him: “What action are you taking against hotels and motels on MG road?” The counsel replied that he will file an affidavit in this regard.

The court also referred to some pubs in Rajouri Garden area, saying that “they are so dangerous”. Meanwhile, appearing for some marble godowns in Chattarpur, senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi said the procedure followed for sealing was “unfair” and that no notices were given before civic authorities before the crackdown.

The counsel pointed out that the land in question was next to the National Highway and used to be agricultural land, which had been converted into a commercial stretch, as per the Delhi Masterplan of 2021. “It is a commercial stretch which was agricultural land before,” he submitted. Agricultural land is not residential, he said, pointing out that the court’s order was to check commercial misuse of residential properties.

He added that there were about 5,000 people employed in 50-odd godowns, who have not been able to run their business for the last two weeks as a result of the sealing.

The court then asked him whether these units were following all labour laws. “There are certain labour laws that are to be complied with… We don’t know if you are complying with this… We will examine it,” the court said. Rohatgi said that was no ground for sealing, but the court countered: “Why not?” The court asked the Monitoring Committee to file a report on the matter by January 30.

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  1. blackpower 666
    Jan 23, 2018 at 8:43 am
    in the land of elephants snakecharmers halfnaked fakirs and saffronites the only life that is of value is holy gaumata - how many have been killed in her name...
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    1. gopal vaidya
      Jan 23, 2018 at 2:44 am
      This is g standing by the courts that achieves nothing but plays to the galleries. They are happy to make these broad generalizations and, yet, you try to remove an illegal construction and they will issue a stay order. The last time there was a demolition, the court said "what is the hurry"?
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      1. I
        Indian Abroad
        Jan 23, 2018 at 1:50 am
        Unfortunately in today's Capitalist World the average value of Human life of any country is directly proportional to its economy and inversely proportional to the population density.
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        1. Paddy Singh
          Jan 23, 2018 at 3:57 am
          Forget value, do we have any respect for human life?
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        2. Lame Karma
          Jan 23, 2018 at 12:40 am
          Building codes needs to be modernized and implemented. People, mostly all contractors needs to know where these building codes are and they should be able to make changes to building and comply with these code. Nobody complies with the existing codes and enforcement is lost in corruption. And hence the loss of life. yet the corrupt people will do yagya, dip in ganga, give lakhs to their favorite babas to absolve of all their sins. Such are Indians,
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          1. M
            Manpreet
            Jan 23, 2018 at 12:14 am
            Your FAKE empathy does not fool us , honorable Justices of the Supreme Court.
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            1. Sahib Singh
              Jan 23, 2018 at 1:55 am
              Just curious, how can you call the justices FAKE and then call them Honorable in the same sentence. As I always said, respect the law. These judges are just your run of the mill men and women, human beings, fallible just like everyone else, with their preferences and prejudices. And most certainly not all of these judges are honorable, not even as men let alone as a judges, but many of them are. If you are in Court, by all means, address them as your honor etc, outside the court, respect them if they have earned it, put them in their place if they are biased and have sold out the power of the judiciary to the politicians in power. Call them crooks if they fit the description. Stop treating them as if they deserve some special status in the society outside the court rooms.
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