The Kamala Mills fire that killed 14 people in December 2017 “has shaken the conscience of society and is an eye-opener”, the Bombay High Court said on Monday while pulling up the civic administration for failing to ensure that restaurants and pubs follow fire safety norms, PTI reported.
“It is time the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation keeps its house in order,” a division bench of Justice RM Borde and Justice RG Ketkar said. The court’s observations came while it heard a public interest litigation filed by former Mumbai Police Commissioner Julio Ribeiro, who asked for a judicial inquiry into the incident.
The BMC’s counsel, Anil Sakhare, told the court that the state had already asked civic body chief Ajoy Mehta for a report on the incident, and that Mehta was expected to submit it this week.
The court then asked the BMC to also give it a copy of the report on February 12, the next date of hearing.
In a separate hearing, the Bombay High Court on Monday allowed hotelier Vishal Karia – arrested for “harbouring” the co-owner of the 1Above pub Abhijeet Mankar – to seek bail from a magistrate’s court, PTI reported.
Karia was booked after the police found Mankar’s car at his residence. Karia approached the Bombay High Court challenging his police remand. He said he was booked for a bailable offence, so the magistrate’s order remanding him in week-long police custody must be quashed.
Karia said he had no connection to the fire and only kept Mankar’s car at his house. The “car had not committed any crime”, he told the court.
Justice Revati Mohite-Dere, who was hearing the plea, asked the police if they would book Karia for any other offence. When the special public prosecutor told the court they had “not found any material to link Karia with the main offence of the fire, or for any other offence”, Justice Mohite-Dere said it did not “make sense” to keep him in custody for a bailable offence.