The Gujarat High Court on Monday took cognisance of the collapse of a suspension bridge in the Morbi district on October 30, The Indian Express reported.
A bench headed by Chief Justice Aravind Kumar directed the state chief secretary and the home department secretary to file status reports on the incident within a week. The court also told the state human rights commission to file a report by November 14, which is the next date of the hearing.
The colonial-era bridge on the Machchu river had collapsed on the evening of October 30, four days after it was reopened to the public following seven months of renovation. Officials said 135 persons died and 170 were rescued, many of whom were admitted to hospitals with injuries.
Chief Justice Kumar said that on October 31, he had given telephonic directions to the registrar of the High Court to file a public interest litigation based on an article in The Times of India. He said that he could not hear the case on the same day due to the Diwali vacation, according to Bar and Bench.
The chief justice told Advocate General Kamal Trivedi, appearing for the state government, said that the bridge collapse was a disheartening incident. “More than 100 persons have died an untimely death,” he noted. “So we have taken a suo motu cognizance of it. We want to know what steps have you (state) taken so far.”
The court directed that the state government, the chief secretary, the Morbi Municipal Corporation, the state urban development department, the state home department and the state human rights commission should be listed as parties to the case.
The Supreme Court is also hearing a petition by a lawyer named Vishal Tiwari seeking the setting up of a judicial commission led by a retired judge to investigate the bridge collapse. The petitioner said that the accident showed negligence and utter failure of government authorities.