Mumbai: The Bombay High Court on Monday pulled up the Maharashtra government for failing to submit the details of amenities, it would provide to the proposed Committee, which is likely to probe the Kamala Mills fire incident. The HC rapped the government for shirking from its responsibility of providing remuneration to the Committee.
A division bench of Justice Shantanu Kemkar and Justice Makarand Karnik was irked to peruse the ‘terms of reference’ submitted by the government for the Committee.
The judges said, “We are unable to understand this document since you were supposed to give specifics of the amenities for the Committee. But what we have got before us now, seems to be a computerised response, which is very much irrelevant.”
“It appears you have a standard format to respond to this Court’s orders. As if there is some template ready with you and whenever required you just copy and paste it and submit before the court. This is certainly not the manner in which you are expected to respond,” the judges added.
This comes in response to the two-page document submitted by the government purported to be the terms of reference for the Committee. In its draft, the government had put forth five points of which the last point stated, “Due to the policy of 2001, the major percentage of Mill land in the city was handed over to the BMC and the MHADA and not the Mill workers.”
This point invited flak from the judges and they clarified, “At present we are not going into this issue. We have restricted ourselves and also the Committee to only oversee the fire safety rules and the open terrace policy.”
During the course of hearing, government pleader Poornima Kantharia told the judges the remuneration part (for the Committee members) would be looked after by the BMC.
Irked over this, the judges said, “You just cannot shirk from your responsibility. You cannot put your burden on the civic body. It is your duty to provide remuneration.”
Meanwhile, the BMC informed the judges it would be providing infrastructure like the office space, computer and also internet to the Committee members. Posting the matter for further hearing after a week, the judges also asked the petitioner – Julio Ribeiro, the former commissioner of police, Mumbai, to put forth his suggestions in the terms of reference for the panel.