The Supreme Court on Tuesday listed for November 14 a petition seeking to set up a judicial commission led by a retired judge to investigate the bridge collapse in Morbi, Gujarat, reported Bar and Bench.
The colonial-era cable bridge on Machchu river had snapped on Sunday evening, four days after it was reopened to the public and seven months after the start of renovation work. So far, 141 persons have been found dead. Search and rescue operations are continuing.
In his public interest litigation, advocate Vishal Tiwari said that the accident showed negligence and utter failure of government authorities.
“From past decade various incidents have taken place in our country wherein due to the mismanagement, lapse in duty, negligent maintenance activities, there has been cases of huge public casualties which could have been avoided,” the petition told Chief Justice UU Lalit who listed the matter for hearing on November 14.
The bridge in Morbi municipality was given to the Oreva Group on contract for management for 15 years in March, local body chief Sandeepsinh Zala had said. The bridge was then shut down for renovation.
Zala has alleged that bridge was reopened by the Oreva Group without the municipality giving it a fitness certificate.
The company, however, claimed that the bridge collapsed as too many persons in the mid-section of the bridge were trying to sway it from one way to the other.
The state government too has shrugged off responsibility with former Deputy Chief Minister and Bharatiya Janata Party leader Nitin Patel saying that it had no role in the renovation and reopening of the bridge. Patel added that the renovation was being handled by the Morbi administration.
The police have arrested two managers of Oreva, two ticket clerks, two contractors and three security guards for negligence leading to the tragedy.