Taking suo motu cognizance of Monday’s building collapse incident in Bhiwandi, which has claimed 38 lives, the Bombay High Court on Thursday initiated a public interest litigation (PIL), seeking reply from all the seven municipal corporations in the Mumbai Metropolitan region (MMR), including BMC, and the state government on concerns it has raised.
The government and the civic bodies will have to inform the HC about steps being taken to keep a check on illegal constructions and dilapidated buildings within two weeks.
The Jilani building at Patel compound in Bhiwandi had collapsed around 3.15 am on Monday. The toll had reached 38 on Wednesday, with 17 of the deceased being children.
A division bench of Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and Justice G S Kulkarni issued the instructions while hearing a PIL that raised the issue of a dilapidated building in Kalyan-Dombivali.
Chief Justice Datta said, “We have noted with utmost concern that the building (Bhiwandi) has collapsed. It is very serious. There has been substantial loss of lives. I have been told the situation is the worst in Mumbai. I have been told that there are many dilapidated buildings in the jurisdiction of BMC and adjoining municipal corporations.”
“Therefore, we are initiating a suo motu PIL and making all the municipal bodies, including Mumbai, Thane, Kalyan-Dombivali, Navi Mumbai, Vasai-Virar and Bhiwandi-Nizampur municipal corporations, respondents to the PIL,” the CJ added.
Justice Kulkarni said that authorities should ensure none of the “unscrupulous persons” involved in illegal constructions get away from being probed.
The bench directed Advocate General Ashutosh Kumbhakoni to inform the court what measures the government intends to take and what had been done earlier about such dilapidated buildings and illegal structures. It also asked Kumbhakoni to remain present for the next hearing on October 15.
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