The bridge collapse in Gujarat’s Morbi district last month was an enormous tragedy and requires weekly monitoring, the Supreme Court remarked on Monday, Bar and Bench reported.
A bench of Chief Justice DY Chandrachud and Justice Hima Kohli asked the Gujarat High Court to take up the matter on a periodical basis. The judges were hearing two petitions filed by individuals seeking an independent investigation into the incident.
The Supreme Court refused to take up the matter as the Gujarat High Court is already hearing a case related to the tragedy. However, the judges allowed the petitioners to move their pleas to the High Court, reported Live Law.
“It is an enormous tragedy and will require weekly monitoring to see the award of the contract, the credentials of the party awarded and attribution of responsibility for those guilty,” they said. “[Gujarat] High Court has taken charge else we would have issued notice.”
A colonial-era bridge on the Machchu river had collapsed on the evening of October 30, killing 141 persons. The tragedy took place just four days after the bridge was reopened for the public following seven months of renovation.
On the next day, Gujarat High Court Chief Justice Aravind Kumar had asked the court’s registrar to file public interest litigation on the matter.
At the last hearing in the high court, the Morbi civic body had told the court that the bridge was reopened after renovation on October 26 by private firm Oreva Group without approval.
On Monday, the Supreme Court also directed the High Court to take note of other demands made by the petitioners such as a need to fix responsibility against officials of the Morbi civic body, reasonable compensation for the families of those killed, and to ensure that the agency tasked with maintenance and management of the bridge is held accountable.