HW English

BMC responsible for civic amenities, can’t pass the buck: HC on bridge collapse

Bombay High Court

The Bombay High Court today said any incident pertaining to civic amenities in the city which affects citizens is the responsibility of Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) and that it cannot pass the buck to other authorities.

A division bench of Justices N H Patil and G S Kulkarni was hearing a public interest litigation filed by Smita Dhruva, president of the Indian National Congress, South Mumbai division after 23 people were killed in a stampede at Elphinstone Road station bridge in September last year.

The petition sought the railways to take measures for better crowd management.

In yet another incident, an over-bridge at a railway station in Mumbai’s Andheri suburb collapsed yesterday during heavy rains, disrupting train services and injuring five people.

Referring to yesterday’s incident, the high court said, “The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has to start taking responsibility for all this. It cannot say that the property belongs to railways.”

“Any incident pertaining to civic amenities which affects citizens is the civic body’s responsibility. You (BMC) cannot pass the buck or wash off your hands saying this property belongs to some other authority,” Justice Patil said.

“Nobody is taking the responsibility for yesterday’s incident. Similarly, after the stampede incident at Elphinstone Road, no one took the responsibility,” Justice Kulkarni noted.

The court said that as a civic body, the BMC should carry out regular audits of all such bridges in the city.

“Bridges are collapsing and the corporation is not able to do anything because it has not bothered to carry out audits. The corporation should carry out regular audits of all bridges and inform the authority concerned,” the bench said.

The bench adjourned the petition for further hearing on July 12 and asked Additional Solicitor General Anil Singh and Advocate General Ashutosh Kumbhkoni to assist the court on that day.

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