“Reply By Evening Or Will Impose Cost”: Gujarat HC Tells Morbi Civic Body

Morbi court

A day after the Gujarat High Court rebuked the Morbi civic authorities for “acting smart” during the hearing on Morbi bridge collapse, the court today warned the civic body over delay in filing a status report despite two notices, NDTV reported. “Yesterday you were acting smart, now you are taking the matter casually,” said the court, “So, either file your reply by this evening, or pay a fine of ₹ 1 lakh.”

Citing the reason for the delay, the civic body had said that the Deputy Collector who’s in-charge of the civic body is on election duty.

“The notice should have been sent to the Deputy Collector, but it was served to the civic body instead, on November 9. Thus, the delay in appearing before this court,” lawyer representing the civic authorities said.

The civic body agreed to file status report by evening giving details of how the collapse occurred.

Earlier on Tuesday, hearing the suo-motu case over collapse of Morbi suspension bridge that killed 130 people last month, the Gujarat High Court rebuked the Morbi civic body for “acting smart” while seeking direct answers. The HC also lashed out at the manner in which the contract was awarded for maintenance of a 150-year-old British-era bridge.

In its preliminary observation, the court remarked: “The municipality, a government body, has defaulted, which ultimately killed 135 people.” The bench, realising that no official had appeared to represent the civic body despite a notice, said: “They are acting smart.”

Asking officials to come back with details on if the condition of issuing certification of fitness before  reopening was part the conditions mentioned in the agreement. The bench also asked who the person responsible was.

“The state shall also place on record reasons why disciplinary proceedings against chief officer of the civic body aren’t commenced,” the Gujarat HC said.

“The largesse of the state seems to have been granted without there being any tender floated in this regard.”


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