The Bombay High Court, on July 4, 2018, pulled up the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), saying that “Any incident pertaining to civic amenities, which affects citizens, is the civic body’s responsibility. You (BMC) cannot pass the buck or wash off your hands, saying this property belongs to some other authority.” A division bench of justices NH Patil and GS Kulkarni was hearing a public interest litigation filed by Smita Dhruva, president of the Indian National Congress, south Mumbai division, after 23 people were killed in a stampede at Elphinstone Road station bridge, in September 2017. The petition sought the railways to take measures, for better crowd management.
In yet another incident, an over-bridge at a railway station in Mumbai’s Andheri suburb collapsed on July 3, 2018, during heavy rains, disrupting train services and injuring five people. Referring to the incident, the high court said, “The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation has to start taking responsibility for all this. It cannot say that the property belongs to the Railways.” Justice Kulkarni noted, “Nobody is taking responsibility for yesterday’s incident. Similarly, after the stampede incident at Elphinstone Road, no one took the responsibility.”
The court said that as a civic body, the BMC should carry out regular audits, of all such bridges in the city. “Bridges are collapsing and the corporation is not able to do anything, because it has not bothered to carry out audits. The corporation should carry out regular audits of all bridges and inform the authority concerned,” the bench said. The bench adjourned the petition for further hearing on July 12, 2018 and asked additional solicitor general Anil Singh and advocate general Ashutosh Kumbhkoni to assist the court on that day.