Bombay High Court Seeks BMC Explanation on Demolition After Tragic Incident

Bombay HC demands BMC clarification over Wadala slum demolition post-incident where two boys drowned. Questions arise on protocol and compensation.

The Bombay High Court has demanded explanations from the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) regarding the demolition of slum tenements near the Wadala bridge, following the tragic death of two young boys on March 18. Expressing concern, the court emphasized the need for clarity on whether the demolition was pre-planned or ad-hoc and if proper notice was provided to affected families.

"We require these details because it should not even be accidentally suggested that the demolition was some sort of ad-hoc action by BMC," the court observed, highlighting the potential legal ramifications. It directed the BMC to submit an affidavit by April 19 clarifying these aspects.

Furthermore, the court urged the BMC and state government to address the circumstances surrounding the boys' deaths. It instructed the BMC to outline any standard operating procedures for public safety during civic works, while the state government was asked to detail compensation policies for accidental deaths related to public works.

"What is the price of a human life in this city? Are budgetary constraints an excuse for failing to ensure minimal safety precautions during civic works?" the court questioned sternly during earlier proceedings, emphasizing the BMC's accountability for the tragedy.

The court reiterated the importance of a structured compensation mechanism for victims, expressing anxiety over open-ended liabilities in the absence of such measures. It directed authorities to consider providing interim compensation to the grieving father of the deceased boys, recognizing the immense loss suffered by the family.

"It is a horrible thing. Somehow you have to explain to him (father). What has befallen the couple is unimaginable. We are not suggesting that by pushing some money their way the loss will be made up. We just want them to get something under the law," the court conveyed, underscoring the necessity of addressing the family's plight.

Senior advocate Sharan Jagtiani, appointed as amicus curiae, was urged to assist in communicating the situation to the bereaved father. The court stressed the importance of offering some form of assistance to alleviate the unimaginable suffering experienced by the family.

With a deadline set for the BMC and state government to provide detailed explanations and protocols, the court's actions demonstrate its dedication to upholding the rights and welfare of citizens, particularly in the aftermath of avoidable accidents and losses.