File reply by evening or pay Rs 1 lakh: Gujarat HC warns Morbi civic body
"Don't take this matter casually, the nagarpalika is asked to file a reply before 4.30 p.m. today or face Rs one lakh fine," the bench said in its order
The Gujarat High Court on Wednesday hauled up the Morbi Nagar palika for its "casual" approach towards a PIL filed in connection with the bridge collapse which claimed over 140 lives on October 30.
A first division bench comprising Chief Arvind Kumar and Justice A.J. Shastri pulled up Morbi Nagar palika for not filing a reply despite the court keeping a special hearing.
"Don't take this matter casually, the nagarpalika is asked to file a reply before 4.30 p.m. today or face Rs one lakh fine," the bench said in its order.
The court has initiated suo motu proceedings in the bridge collapse case. Though the court had issued notices to the Morbi Nagar Palika on November 7 seeking a reply by November 14, it failed. On November 15, the court granted another day to the civic body but it again failed to file a reply file.
When the court took up the matter this morning, the Nagar Palika counsel informed that the reply could not be filed as the civic body in-charge Deputy Collector is busy with election duty and could not decide about lawyer on time.
The Nagar Palika counsel sought time till November 24 when the matter is kept for further hearing. But the court turned down the request and demanded a reply by evening.
"Yesterday you were acting smart, now you are taking the matter casually," responded the court, "So, either file your reply by this evening, or pay a fine of ₹ 1 lakh."
On Tuesday, the court demanded answers over the way in which the contract was awarded for maintenance of the 150-year-old bridge.
"The municipality, a government body, has defaulted, which ultimately killed 135 people," the court had said as a preliminary observation. It pointedly asked officials to come back with details on whether any condition for certifying fitness of the bridge before its reopening was part the agreement, and 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," it had said.
"The largesse of the state seems to have been granted without there being any tender floated in this regard," NDTV quoted its order as saying.
With IANS inputs