On Monday, a lawyer petitioned the Supreme Court for the formation of a judicial committee led by a former Supreme Court judge to probe the Morbi Bridge collapse in Gujarat.
Advocate Vishal Tiwari stated in the public interest litigation (PIL) petition that the tragedy that resulted in the collapse of the Morbi bridge, resulting in more than 137 victims, demonstrated the negligence and complete failure of government officials.
“Over the last decade, several tragedies have occurred in our country where there have been cases of massive public casualties that could have been avoided owing to mismanagement, lapses in duty, and irresponsible maintenance activities,” the plea added. Tiwari brought the petition before Chief Justice of India (CJI) UU Lalit on Tuesday.
On October 30, 2022, the Morbi Bridge in Gujarat collapsed. The 141-year-old suspension bridge over the Machchuu River fell just weeks after it reopened after repairs and maintenance by a commercial operator, the Oreva Group.
The petitioner stated that, according to the First Information Report (FIR), the bridge reopened on October 26 following repairs and maintenance despite the fact that it posed a risk to life. It was also claimed that at the time of the collapse, the bridge had more than 500 people on it, which exceeded the allowable maximum.
According to the complaint, the private operator did not get a fitness certificate before reopening the bridge, and there was no administrative oversight by government officials. “Such shows no concern for human life and it is an utter dreadful act of violation of human rights that is the breach of right to life under Article 21 of the Constitution,” the plea said.
In addition, the petition emphasised the importance of surveying and assessing many other old bridges and landmarks in India in order to avoid similar tragedies in the future. As a result, the petitioner also demanded that all states organise committees to analyse the risk of all ancient and dangerous monuments, bridges, and other structures to assure their safety and environmental viability.
Finally, the petitioner requested the establishment of a Construction Incident Investigation Department to conduct fast investigations in incidents like this one.
CASE: Vishal Tiwari v. UOI