Bombay High Court Starts Probe into Civic Negligence After Child Deaths

Bombay High Court initiates PIL to probe civic negligence after tragic deaths of missing children. Justices Patel and Khata lead the inquiry, emphasizing accountability in municipal governance.

The Bombay High Court took action on Thursday by starting a suo motu public interest litigation (PIL) to look into the responsibility of civic bodies and how they compensate for deaths caused by negligence. Justices GS Patel and Kamal Khata looked at three newspaper articles, including one from April 3 titled "Life comes cheap for India's richest corporation."

The Court realized it's hard to believe that a municipal corporation wouldn't be responsible for accidents or deaths due to negligence. They said, "These three news reports raise a question of public law. What is the price of a human life in this city? Are the so-called 'budgetary constraints' of the BMC an answer for a failure to provide minimal safety precaution during civic works? There will be issues regarding civic responsibility, questions of negligence and financial responsibility as well, not just for the individual officers of the BMC, but also for the Corporation as a body."

The problem started when two children disappeared on March 31. Their parents reported them missing after they didn't come back from a public garden in Wadala. During the search, the police found that the paper covers of the garden tanks were torn, and the children had drowned in one of them. News reports about this incident pointed out negligence by the civic authorities.

In the hearing, the Court said that the issues in the PIL could affect every local body responsible for civic works in their area. Instead of sending notices to all municipal corporations, the Court decided to send notices to the Advocate General of the Maharashtra government and the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC).

The Court also picked Senior Advocate Sharan Jagtiani and Advocate Mayur Khandeparkar to help with the case as amicii.