Ensure no more Ghatkopar hoarding collapse-like incidents happen: SC directs Mumbai authorities

As per reports, the pillar which supported the Ghatkopar hoarding had a weak foundation and the size of hoarding was 120×120 sq feet.
A damaged petrol pump after a huge iron hoarding collapsed on it due to strong winds and heavy rain, at Ghatkopar in Mumbai.
A damaged petrol pump after a huge iron hoarding collapsed on it due to strong winds and heavy rain, at Ghatkopar in Mumbai.Photo | PTI

NEW DELHI: Referring to the unfortunate and sad incident of Ghatkopar tragedy in Mumbai, where 17 people lost their lives and several others were injured, the Supreme Court on Friday in its order sent a strong message and directed the authorities in Mumbai to ensure that no untoward incident relating to hoardings takes place in the city considering that monsoon season has arrived.

The two-judge vacation bench of the top court, led by Justice Sanjay Kumar and Justice P B Varale, passed the direction after hearing a case filed by the Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai (MCGM) regarding the applicability of certain provisions of the Mumbai Municipal Corporation (MMC) Act to hoardings on Railways' land.

Thr top court, while passing the direction to the Mumbai authorities, listed the matter for further hearing to next week to enable the respondents to file a response.

"In the meanwhile, all the parties concerned, including the Railways, ensure that no untoward incident happens in connection with any hoardings, be it on Railway land or on anywhere. So whoever is in charge of whichever land, please see that nothing happens atleast within a week, now that the monsoons have arrived," the top court said in its order on Friday.

During the course of today's hearing, Justice Varale referred to the collapse of a 250-tonne illegal hoarding in Ghatkopar, Mumbai on top of a petrol pump, following a dust storm and heavy rains in the city on May 13, 2024. The unfortunate incident claimed lives of 17 people, while several others were injured.

As per reports, the pillar which supported the Ghatkopar hoarding had a weak foundation and the size of hoarding was 120×120 sq feet (instead of the permitted size 40×40 sq ft).

The judge also pointed out that as per newspaper reports, the accused in the Ghatkopar incident, Bhavesh Bhide, was not initially available but was apprehended later by the police, and found to have antecedents relating to the erection of illegal boardings/structures registered by Mumbai authorities against Bhide (owner of the hoarding) and others.

A case under Sections 304 (Voluntarily causing hurt), 337 (Doing any act so rashly or negligently as to endanger human life, 338 (Punishment for negligent act) and 34 (Common Intention of committing crime) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) was registered by the Mumbai Police against Bhide (owner of the hoarding) and others. He is currently in custody.

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