NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Monday agreed to list for hearing a PIL seeking constitution of a judicial commission to probe the Morbi bridge collapse incident in Gujarat which claimed over 130 lives.
A bench of Chief Justice D Y Chandrachud and Justice J B Pardiwala took note of the submission of lawyer Vishal Tiwari, who has filed the PIL, that the matter needed an urgent hearing.
“I got the papers late. We will list it. What is the urgency?” the bench asked.
“There is urgency in this matter as there are so many old structures in the country,” the lawyer said, insisting that the mattter be heard on priority.
It will be listed, the bench responded.
According to news reports, the death toll in the collapse of the British-era bridge on the Machchhu river in Morbi in Gujarat has gone up to 134 people.
Tiwari, in the plea, said the accident reflected the negligence and utter failure of government authorities.
In the past decade, several incidents have taken place in our country where due to the mismanagement, lapse in duty, and negligent maintenance activities, there have been cases of huge public casualties which could have been avoided, the PIL said.
The more than a century-old bridge, located around 300 km from state capital Gandhinagar, had reopened five days before the tragedy struck after extensive repair and renovation.
It was crammed with people when it collapsed around 6.30 pm on October 30.
In his plea, Tiwari has sought constitution of a judicial commission under the chairmanship of a retired judge of the apex court to probe the incident.
The plea has also sought directions to states to form a committee to survey and conduct risk assessment of old monuments and bridges to ensure environmental viability and safety.
It has also sought directions to states to constitute a construction incident investigation department for prompt investigation whenever such incidents occur.