The Delhi High Court has refused to quash criminal proceedings against a builder and his associates in connection with a wall collapse at an under-construction building, which claimed the lives of four labourers and left three injured in 2012.
Justice Vibhu Bakhru said the builder, Praveen Bansal, and others are “accused of gross negligence” as they did not have “permission or authority to raise construction” in Central Delhi’s Bapa Nagar.
“Although in certain cases where this court has felt that ends of justice would be served, FIRs under IPC section 304-A (causing death by negligence) have been quashed. However, this court is of the view that this is not one such case. The petitioners (builder and his associates) are accused of gross negligence.
“The petitioner (builder) had no permission or authority to raise the construction. It also appears the construction was raised in a negligent manner, which resulted in the tragic incident. It cannot be ignored that four persons lost their lives and three were injured. Such wanton and unauthorised construction, without regard to safety of others, cannot be countenanced,” said the court.
“The present petition is, accordingly, dismissed,” said the judge, declining to accept the builder’s contention that the FIR and proceedings in the case be quashed as he has settled the matter with the labourers and their families.
The incident took place on the night of March 30, 2012, when the labourers were sleeping on the ground floor. As a wall collapsed, they got trapped under the rubble. Police alleged Bansal had no permission to construct the building and that instead of cement, other sub-standard material had been used.
The judge observed that “this court is not inclined to examine the allegations in any depth. However, it does appear that if the allegations are correct, then there is good ground to convict the petitioner for an offence punishable under Section 304-A of the IPC”.
As the building was located in a narrow lane at Tank Road in Bapa Nagar, it took time for authorities to rescue people. Initially, police and rescuers were unsure of the number of people trapped under the debris, which is why some victims remained trapped for two days.
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